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.
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.
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.
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.
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.