|Kevin Garnett, PF 36 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -6
Man, oh man. Garnett looked like a 36 year old, 17 year veteran, just four years removed from a freaky season-ending knee injury on the SEcond GAme of a BAck to BAck last night. There were two instances in the second half where I thought KG may have retired midway through jogging back on defense. The first one was the Paul Pierce pass that sailed over his head and bounced lifelessly out of bounds. The KG of yesteryear would be sporting some diesel floor burns right about now while the KG of today couldn’t come close to saving it. Then there was the moment in the fourth where Al Jefferson had him pinned in the corner and then picked his pocket. I put a heaping serving of blame on his teammates for not giving him an outlet but I can’t ignore that the KG of yesteryear would have thrown the ball out of bounds off Big Al’s face and then said something terrible about this poor lady.Luckily, there are no back to backs in the playoffs. There are, however, seven game series. The old Celtic standby has to be a thing of the past if they want to get out of the first round.
|Brandon Bass, PF 42 MIN | 4-10 FG | 7-7 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +3
Bass continues to take on more responsibility. He’s not just a pick and pop player or a weak side jump shooter. He’s mixing in drives to the basket and exhibiting dribbling moves no one knew he had. I still can’t decide whether or not these are moves he actually has or Bass just sees the shot clock going down with nobody open, and blacks out only to regain consciousness after the ball has gone through the rim. I must conduct further research.
|Paul Pierce, SF 39 MIN | 10-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 26 PTS | +10
Before taking over the game late in the fourth and overtime, Pierce was excelling at playing the point forward. When he wasn’t dishing the ball or crashing the glass, he was missing a bevy of wide open shots, particularly in the third and fourth quarters. As Brian Scalabrine pointed out in the broadcast, these weren’t bad shots they were just misses. I want Pierce bombing threes if he’s wide open. More often than not, these shots will drop. Last night, they just weren’t falling. That is, until he went vintage and started owning DeMarre Carroll. Pierce made clutch shot after clutch shot, it’s no wonder why he thought that awful turn-around long two game winner attempt was going in. As you know, it did not. In overtime, Pierce went on to hit three huge buckets to effectively put the game away. This game is just another in a long list of reminders that the Celtics will likely be without a Paul Pierce type player for a long time once he retires.
|Avery Bradley, PG 39 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +9
Bradley played his best all around game in a long time. He was a complete menace to Earl Watson in the first half and was instrumental in the Celtics comeback in the third quarter. Just take a look at this sequence:8:48 Avery Bradley makes three point jumper 56-60
8:23 Avery Bradley personal foul (Earl Watson draws the foul) 56-60
8:14 Avery Bradley defensive rebound 56-60
8:10 Earl Watson blocks Avery Bradley ‘s 1-foot layup 56-60
8:08 Avery Bradley offensive rebound 56-60
8:04 Avery Bradley makes three point jumper 59-60
7:28 Courtney Lee makes 18-foot jumper 61-60
7:03 Avery Bradley defensive rebound 61-60It was only a 5-0 run, but up to that point the C’s had only made one second half bucket and weren’t playing with the right energy. After this sequence, the Jazz only led the C’s for a brief moment in the fourth.
|Courtney Lee, SG 33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +8
Lee, like Bradley, had a great all around game. Given the scheduling circumstances, it was nice to see Lee fight through fatigue and play with energy. I would have liked him to make one or two more buckets for efficiency purposes, but that’s some severe nitpicking.
|Jeff Green, PF 28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Ever since his monster game in Phoenix, the rim has looked like the ocean to Green. Unfortunately since shooting 11-14 against the Suns, he’s gone just 7-22 since. He’s not taking bad shots, he’s just not converting. Since I’m giving the rest of the C’s somewhat of a pass given the roadtrip/SEGABABA issue, I’ll extend one to Green as well. There are, however, a few things that irked me about his game. Let me warm up this phonograph and load up this cracked 45: 1 rebound in a game that went to overtime? Are you kidding me? The C’s were going to get smashed on the boards against Utah. That was a certainty. But that certainly doesn’t mean that Green should only finish with one measly board. Another moment that made the irk list was the shot clock violation with 13 seconds left. How do you not know how much time is on the shot clock? Especially when there’s less than a minute to go in the game. Chalk it up to mental fatigue, I guess, but at this point in the season I’ve still got more questions than answers when it comes to Green’s game.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 21 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5
Slightly more than unremarkable, which is more than I’ve said about previous games started by Jason Collins. B. Robb really put it best when he described Wilcox as being the offensive oriented version of Collins. Effective given limited time but also gives you next to nothing on the opposite side of the ball. On this team, I’d rather have Wilcox than Collins.
|Jordan Crawford, SG 5 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
I did not realize how herky-jerky Jordan Crawford’s game was. For such a gifted offensive player, it appears as though there is nothing smooth about the way he operates. There’s no doubt that the unpredictability of his movements aids his offensive game, but the same movement only hinders his attempts to rotate and show defensively. Watching him show on a double team is like watching a petulant middle schooler do defensive slides as punishment. Didn’t play youth basketball? Okay, then it’s like Andy picking up his place setting.
|Jason Terry, SG 23 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -11
13 field goal attempts? Wowza. I only remember about half of them. 5-13 is far from efficient, but is totally welcome on a team as devoid of offense as this Celtics team. Also, hitting four three pointers is big on a Big Three era team sans Ray Allen. I find myself having to remind people that a midrange pull up in transition is a good shot for Jason Terry. Well, it may not be a “good” shot but it’s definitely better than him trying to finish at the rim. He’s been doing these pull ups his whole career and you just have to live with ‘em.
Rivers did a great job of balancing the need to win this game versus limiting his older guy’s minutes. This is not an easy task to do but I thought Rivers excelled. I was really happy he played Jordan Crawford limited minutes and did not play Terrence Williams at all. In a must win game, I just don’t want to see them until they’ve become fully acclimated.