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Pierce, Not Curry: Celtics 94, Warriors 86

 
Golden State Warriors 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Boston Celtics

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Celtics came into tonight worried about Steph Curry, who was coming off 54 points against the Knicks on Wednesday, but the Celtics locked him down behind some early defense from Avery Bradley and a concerted effort to limit Golden State’s opportunities from the perimeter. Bradley sat much of the second half with foul trouble but Curry (6-22 overall) and Klay Thompson still finished a combined 4-18 from the arc, which proved the death knell for the Warriors.
  2. Paul Pierce was the best player on the floor, assuming the alpha male role on his way to 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Sure, he had 7 turnovers but on a night when Kevin Garnett (2-10) couldn’t throw it in the harbor, Pierce stabilized the offense on tidy 9-15 shooting, including an emphatic transition dunk.
  3. Jordan Crawford turned in just a spectacular night of basketball. I’m absolutely mesmerized watching him make decisions with the ball. If he’s not head down in search of his own shot early in the clock, he’s leaping in the air to force up ill-fated floaters or throwing wild passes. Crawford’s feast and famine approach did produce a couple of highlights, including a nice cross-court pass to a streaking Jeff Green for a layup and a couple of nice defensive plays but more often than not, he’s out of control out there. I sort of hope Doc Rivers extends his minutes if only for the entertainment value.
  4. Green had another good night, with 18 points on 13 shots, some strong defense and at least one heart-stopping moment for Celtics fans when he got sandwiched between two defenders on a drive and landed hard on his hip and leg. It wasn’t his only fall but he played through it and gave the C’s the offensive punch they couldn’t find elsewhere tonight.
  5. No run for the end-of-benchers. Terrence Williams got one minute of court time and DJ White and Shavlik Randolph both stayed anchored to the bench. In his pre-game chat with reporters, Rivers made it clear he saw his new additions as solid ways to fill out his roster, but something shy of core contributors. The reality is the C’s now seem invested in developing Williams but the other two will need to bide their time and, as the saying goes, be ready when their number is called.
  • Phil725

    I'll tell you what I saw, 22 effective minutes of Chris Wilcox! A game high plus 20!

    Single game plus/minus is a bad way to judge of course, but he clearly wasn't hurting things when the units he was a part of were consistently blowing the Warriors away. I think he's finally starting to earn Doc's trust. There was a time during this game where the front court was KG/Wilcox/Green. I have no idea how it did, but I love that line up, and hope we see it more. This was a great matchup for him offensively, since David Lee is about as good at protecting the rim as you are, but he held up just fine on the defensive end too. He had 7 rebounds in those 22 minutes, and no GS big was much of a problem.

    I was surprised to see Crawford get so much crunch time run, seemed a little out of character for Doc, but I guess it could've been foul related. I continue to like the reckless gunner approach he brings. You don't want him to be a starter or making a lot of money, but as the ninth guy on the team on a rookie deal, he's a solid contributor. Terry was firing blanks out there today, and Crawford picked up some slack.

    Hopefully this upcoming month off for the Cs (feels like it at least,) helps the new guys get acclimated, but building off the last observation, I think it only really potentially affects Williams and Crawford. I was actually shocked that they brought in another guy after White, but I guess when you have an owner that doesn't mind spending…

    Also, Paul Pierce is awesome.

  • High Rollers

    Jeff said he wasn't too hurt just wanted a chance to catch his breath. #ShadesOfRondo

  • High Rollers

    Jeff Green's line is always going to be a little volatile, but he should at least be depended on for 15 and 5 (points and boards), right? Just like Rondo should always get at least 10, 8, and 5… at the very least…

    Agree, disagree?

    • Vince

      Agree that Green should get 15 points. Agree that he should get 5 boards, but I know he won't, since he's allergic to rebounding. But considering what he was contributing in the first quarter of the season, he's now a solid contributor.

      • kg215

        yup it's probably easier for him to get 18 and 3 rather than 15 and 5. But if he gets 18 and 3 he is then solid, and would somewhat earn his contract.

        • fabzzz

          Lets not forget he got 18 and 5 tonight. As well as 3 blocks, a stat which is beginning not to look like an anomaly (He averaged 1.7 blocks in Feb.). He may not be earning his contract right now, but its reasonable to believe he may be earning it next year. And the year after that he may be a steal.

          The thing with Green is he would definitely be earning his contract if, lets say, he was starting for the Bobcats or the Suns where he would get the ball and be a focal point and know he's the best player on the floor. That's why his value is really hard to judge. Danny took a flier on him, hoping he could live up to that money on a good team.

  • High Rollers

    By the by, I really like watching our odd Western Conference doppleganger, the Denver Nuggets. Especially against a team with a slight sense of entitlement (a.k.a. OKC). Does anybody else remember George Karl coached a Seattle team against an MJ led Bulls crew in the '96 Finals? Or that Iguodala used to run with a fairly bada** Philly squad that took us to 7 last year? Or that the Manimal schooled his age and weight class in the Rising Stars Challenge to the tune of forty some points?

    And I want the C's to outsurprise the Nugs. Is that asking too much?

    I think the second round would be the best round to get the Heatles.

  • KillerGymRat

    I don't quite understand the reasoning of adding guys to the roster – especially under 10 day contracts – if you aren't going to at least kick the tires. Especially in a game like tonight when the Warriors never really seemed to pose any kind of serious threat and you are facing one of the smallest teams in the league. I mean if you can't grab rebounds against Golden State you just can't rebound…so why not let the new guys try and grab a couple.

    And I didn't get why AB sat the entire fourth. He's going to need to learn to play with fouls since most refs still give him garbage fouls because they can't comprehend how he can blanket like that without fouling, and the rotation will likely be super short in the playoffs. He's going to need to learn to play at different throttles. Right now he's only got one gear – 5th.

    JC is fun to watch (in a Javale McGee kinda way), but I would have rather seen more of TWill.

    • Phil725

      I'd guess that this upcoming break will give the new guys a chance to get more acquainted with the team. I think it was Randolph who said that he was actually jet lagged at game time, so he could certainly use some more time before being thrown in. That said, Doc's had an aversion to new guys in the past as well. I'd like to see the end of bench guys get some minutes so KG doesn't have to play so much, but I'm not holding my breath.

      For AB, I'd guess he stayed on the bench because the team was playing well without him. If they had started struggling (or Curry started going off,) I assume Bradley would've been put back in to shake things up. I kind of like the 5th gear all the time mentality though. It's gonna lead to quick foul outs (I thought he got his money's worth on foul calls last night, for the record,) but he gave Curry fits for the time he was out there. I don't know for sure that the battle between the two early on led to Curry airballing open 3s late, but it sure looked like a factor. Every guard behind AB on the depth chart is better on offense, if he can play 25-30 minutes of 5th gear defense, then let Terry play crunch time, I think that's valuable.

  • NZNICK33

    One big difference with Jeff Green that I am noticing – he's really beginning to enjoy himself when's he out there on the court. For a guy that previously looked close to wetting himself, this is a great development.

    • tbunny

      He's gotten more and more confidence as the season has gone on. He seems more relaxed and assertive. It also sort of looks like he's added muscle.

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