Post-game Reactions

Boston Celtics 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Philadelphia 76ers
Brandon Bass, PF 25 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4Brandon Bass missed his first wide elbow jumper early in the first quarter, then proceeded to struggle mightily on the other end, specifically containing Philadelphia’s ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll (especially Jrue Holiday). Not sure if this poor play convinced Doc Rivers to go small for much of the game, or if that was a predetermined strategic decision, but Bass wasn’t good on either end.
Paul Pierce, SF 30 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | +9Sluggish isn’t a bad word to describe Paul Pierce at the beginning of this game. And no play better illustrates it than when he was out-hustled by Thaddeus Young for a rebound that he was in perfect position to grab. Fouling a stumbling Damian Wilkins on a late first quarter drive didn’t look too good either. But nobody will remember any of that (nor should they). Pierce was amazing from behind the three-point line, attempting four and making four, and each one seemed to come at a timely moment in the game when Philadelphia appeared to be forging a comeback. He started slow, but Paul Pierce ended strong.
Kevin Garnett, C 28 MIN | 9-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 6 TO | 18 PTS | +11Garnett started the game making three straight jump shots, which is always good news. He ended his first five minute stint viciously swatting an Evan Turner layup out of bounds too. It looked like young KG. The only thing that really hurt him were the quarter million offensive fouls and travels he was (accurately) called for. Apart from those, Garnett was awesome on both ends.
Avery Bradley, PG 34 MIN | 10-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | +5A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on Avery Bradley’s struggling offense. Tonight he made me look moronic, knocking down jumper after jumper, stepping out behind the three-point line, attacking in transition, and even cracking the door on his freakish athleticism with a beautiful put back dunk midway through the third quarter. Bradley’s defense on Jrue Holiday picked up as the game went on, but when he starts contests shooting 9-10 from the floor his impact on the Celtics is so much more tangible. (Not to disparage the defense in any way.)
Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -2If you’re looking for consistent individual offense, Courtney Lee isn’t for you. If intense pressure defense is more your thing, then you’ll absolutely love him! Tonight Lee was fantastic on the ball, forcing unorthodox turnovers from Jrue Holiday and consistently making things uncomfortable. This is the Courtney Lee the Celtics need every night if he isn’t going to be a dead eye three-point shooter.
Jeff Green, PF 28 MIN | 4-8 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +9Another consistent game from Green, who not only lived at the free-throw line, but for stretches looked like the guy who seven years ago used to facilitate Georgetown’s offense. It’s become more and more a pleasure to watch Green compete on both ends of the court. He forces the issue and has become a borderline elite player when it comes to drawing fouls in one on one situations. It’s come to the point where sometimes the Celtics actually rely on him in isolation situations.
Chris Wilcox, PF 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1Wilcox did his best Tyson Chandler impression (at least on offense) for the 17 minutes of action he gave the Celtics, tipping out missed shots and diving hard to the rim on off ball cuts and pick-and-rolls.
Jordan Crawford, SG 16 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -1Jordan Crawford is the argument of “process vs. result” in human form. Example: Tonight he attacked four Sixers in transition with zero Celtics teammates even past half court, eventually throwing up a runner off the glass that went in. The result was great! The process? Not so much.
Terrence Williams, SG 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +5Only seven minutes for Terrence Williams, who didn’t have any tangible impact on the game.
Jason Terry, SG 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +9Terry had a great game with the ball in his hands, which is something the Celtics need to see more of if they want their offense to improve. He came off screens, found open shooters, and created passing lanes by penetrating into the lane. All that and a three-point dagger.
Doc RiversDoc Rivers went small throughout the game, mixing and matching several three guard lineups that at the very least provided Philadelphia’s crowd with serviceable entertainment. (Jordan Crawford, Jason Terry, and Courtney Lee on the court at the same time? Sign me up for those offensive possessions!) The Celtics went zone for the most part when they were small, and Philadelphia missed their shots. He also showed why he’s a great X and O coach, drawing up a beautiful pick-and-roll with Pierce and Terry at the end of the first half that resulted in two free-throws for the C’s.

Two things we saw, after the jump

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Celtics were more sloppy with the ball tonight than they’ve been all season long, and that’s seriously saying something. They had about three or four inbound passes intercepted and immediately converted to layups in their face, and their overall handle on the ball in the open court was less than tight. (Their 22 turnovers were a season high.)
  2. Paul Pierce from behind the three-point line was a thing of beauty tonight. He was fluid and confident in all four he attempted, going right up off the catch and knocking them each in in an especially timely manner.
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Michael Pina

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  • KillerGymRat

    Not sure how KG has 6 turnovers and still manages a B+

    This was a C+ game at best when you consider not only did he turn the ball over a ton (at least one of which was a terrible inbound pass that lead to a basket – he actually might have done it twice), he only had 6 boards, and compounded a poor game by goaltending a garbage toss that gave up a 3-point play and encouraged the Sixers to fight to stay in the game the final 2 minutes.

    I love KG…but this was not B+ KG

    And it seems like TWill is playing not to make mistakes instead of really being aggressive and showing off what he can do. There were several times you could see he wanted to attack the D but pulled it up and gave the ball away. Meanwhile JC is proving he will shoot it anytime…anyplace.

    • Phil725

      I thought KG struggled on defense a little (a ton for him,) early on too. Philly was getting into the lane for easy layups, and while it's hard to tell who was really at fault, KG gets credit from me when stuff works and blame when it doesn't. Specifically to him, he got beaten off the dribble by Hawes for a layup at one point that led to an easy Moultrie putback slam, and he did a 'my fault' motion after another alley oop. Definitely not his best work. This is KG we're talking about, I think it's fair to hold him to a pretty high standard.

      That said, I think everyone gets the benefit of the doubt when they're clicking on offense.

      • check12check

        I think this alludes to one issue with this grading that happens. It doesn't seem like the method of grading the players (against average as a basketball player or against their own skill) is inconsistent. Don't get me wrong, I love reading these things and it's not like these articles are really important, but I often feel like the grades are questionable. I also feel like KG and PP are often graded on the "come on, it's freaking KG!!!!" curve.

  • someguyinsac

    Avery deserves an A+ tonight, I don't care what anyone else says about how he doesn't.

    • Anthony

      Couldn't agree more.

      Chris Forsberg had a piece on AB's shooting prowess but I'm continually amazed by his defense. I know he missed 30 games and his steals and blocks # aren't particularly high but he's got to receive Defensive Player of Year votes. Every guard in the league are afraid to face him. The play where he backtracked step for step with Jrue Holiday and nearly had a steal was simply phenomenal.

      • check12check

        i think AB got docked that little bit of a grade due a slow start defensively. fantastic performance though

  • High Rollers

    P definitely had a better stroke on his J tonight. Strange, since he looked to be laboring with those neck pains through at least one stretch of the game. Chalk it up to Captainry.

  • Cornbread

    Tough grades tonight. This was a solid road win. JET 9pts, 3reb, 6asst, 1stl, a +9, and a clutch three only garners a B-? Poor Jordan Crawford finally has a good stat line –12 pts, 4reb, 3asst, and 1 steal in only 16 minutes, and gets a B-? What else could he have done? Glad I did not have you as my teacher in 9th grade Algebra.

    On a more serious note, does anyone see any benefit of not moving up too far in the East standings. If we move up to 4 or 5, we have a very tough first round matchup probably versus a Chicago team with D. Rose. And then we are in Miami's bracket in the next round.

    I would prefer a 6 or 7 seed — we can easily beat New York or Indiana in the first round (I am much more worried about Chicago if they have Rose), and then we stay away from Miami in the second round.

    • KillerGymRat

      I'd have to agree with you on facing New York. I personally am more worried about Indiana then Chicago though (even with Rose – who I highly doubt will be anything close to his old self anytime this season).

      But the problem with a lower seed is no home court advantage at all which is a huge disadvantage, especially for an older team and when the C's are so good in the Garden.

  • Jonathan

    Celtics were very sloppy. 16 Turnovers from the starters is a ridiculous amount.

  • Swissflix

    I would like Green not only to get more minutes but also better/ quality time. He did not get in the game in the 3rd until 8 minutes were played. Do not understand this.

    • CelticsBIG3

      I don't see any reason for Bass to be playing at all anymore other than that he fills space as a fifth player on the floor. Every thing he does whilst on the floor is mind-bogglingly painfully annoying to watch. Why is he preferred over Green to start? Sure neither of them can rebound, but Green is an inch taller, ten times the defender Bass is, and actually provides consistent offense by scoring and drawing lots of fouls.

      • Anthony

        I agree but I also wouldn't want to disrupt the dynamics of JGreen coming off the bench right. He's in a good groove and the bench needs his all-around play. Maybe start Wilcox? Unfortunately Sully is injured but I would approve him starting and maintaining the bench rotation as is.

        Bass had a decent game against GS but I have no problem with his mins slipping. JGreen should play more mins than him every game.

  • Phil725

    Hmm, I'm gonna have to see a couple more grade pieces from Michael before I can figure out the tendencies to expect. I do like that they actually seem weighted around a C average (not everyone deserves to start with a Bplus every win…)

    That said, I don't know what more you could possibly expect from Bradley, this could easily end up being his best game of the year. He wasn't smothering anyone on defense, but he still played well there, and his offense was unconscious for the entire game. It wasn't even only shooting, he also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists. I'm not sure if he's being graded on the Paul Pierce scale for some reason, but that's about the only reason I could come up with for a guy who's been struggling on offense (as the piece mentioned states,) coming up with this kind of game.

    I'd disagree with Terry's grade as well. I thought he was the glue that held those weird second units together all night. 6 assists tells a lot of the story, but I'm not sure even that is really indicative of how perfectly he controlled things. He adds so much poise and direction to those units that would otherwise just be random launching. Hard to quantify that though I guess.

    • Anthony

      AB wasn't his normal smothering self because the team played zone for a good part of the game. I said after the Utah game that AB's increased scoring should be a norm because he gets a good deal of open/ good shots.

      JET did deserve a better grade. The way he's playing now, he has great control and feel of the game, I don't mind any of the shots he makes or misses.

      • Phil725

        I didn't feel like the team played a ton of zone when AB was in the game. I know they didn't early, and that was when Holliday was at his best. Holliday's a really good player, and he was coming off screens and getting into the lane for good looks and passes that really got the 76ers going early. I thought they played more zone later largely because the normal stuff they do with AB wasn't working. Holliday had something like 9 assists in the first half, and a large percentage of that was with Bradley trying to check him.

        I do think there's something to him having his best scoring day when he didn't have to exert as much effort defensively though. No one can play 110% on both ends of the floor at all times, and Bradley always plays at 110% on defense. It's something to watch going forward, because I think he's most valuable as an elite defender, but that may come at the cost of some offense. I know he could put up better offensive numbers if he slacked on defense some.

        • Anthony

          No one besides MJ, Dream, GP and maybe Lebron. Also KG in his prime.

          • KillerGymRat

            Good list. I'd add in Karl Malone.

  • NZNICK33

    Is the 3rd seed out of the question? Coz that would be ideal.

    • KillerGymRat

      Not mathmatically, but five games out with only 23 games left to play is a huge deficit to overcome.

      It would require either Indy or NYC have a complete meltdown by playing barely .500 ball, and/or for the C's to win 20 games or more the rest of the season. While possible…it's highly unlikely.

      • hydrofluoric

        NYK *is* playing .500 ball. They're something like 18-15 in 2013, and they still have two matchups left against the Celtics.

        • KillerGymRat

          You actually are helping prove my point. NYK are 16 – 13 (.551) in 2013.

          The C's have gone 18 -11 (.620) over the same 29 game stretch. So with NYK playing some of its worst ball of the season, we have gained a whopping 2 games over nearly 30 games.

          Having two head-to-heads is a big help, but still, with 23 games left if NYK keeps their current pace, they'll win at least 13 games. Which means the C's have to win 18 (if they win both head to heads) or 19 if they lose the season series.

          It's totally possible, but you can't rely on other teams playing bad through the most important stretch of the season. More realistically we'll need to win at least 20 games to take the division since I really don't see NYK going 13 – 10. That means we have to go .869 or better the rest of the way.

          Like @ Anthony mentions below, this team has no room for error to achieve that and losses to teams like the Bobcats and Hawks have plagued them all year long.

          The schedule works in our favor with lots of teams outside the playoff race, but we still face Miami (2 times), Indiana (2 times), NYK (2 times), OKC and Memphis. That's 8 tough games and we can only afford to realistically lose (at most) 3 of those, and then we'd have to clean sweep every non-playoff team.

          Again, possible. But even as a huge optimist, it's asking a lot from this team.

          EDITED: changed the numbers since first posted to be more accurate.

          • hydrofluoric

            Lots of interesting stuff here. I was being a bit nitpicky when I said the Knicks were playing .500 ball in 2013, but consider…

            You're comparing the Celtics in 2013 to the Knicks in 2013. I think a better comparison might be Knicks in 2013 to Celtics since Rondo went down… 12-4.

            Our only losses since Rondo have gone down:
            – SEGABABA OTR after 3OT against Denver, in a blatant trap game
            – 3 road games in the West, coming in a span of 6 days covering thousands of miles, all played at 9:00 PM EST or later.

            The Knicks are not experiencing anywhere near the positive trend we currently are.

          • hydrofluoric

            That said – you're right. I didn't mean to suggest that we *would* overtake the Knicks, just that it's not like they're doing great right now.

            In fact, glancing down the Knicks' schedule, I counted the wins and losses. Assuming they get swept by the Celtics/Pacers/Heat and lose every West Coast road game, they'll finish between 11-14 and 15-10. If the Knicks win 13 more games, we would need to finish 17-6 (including sweeping them) to do it, which is tough but not impossible.

            But if the Knicks only win 11 more games and we stay hot…

          • KillerGymRat

            While I agree the team is playing well post-Rondo, there is a Bobcat loss in there, and schedule is no excuse for losses. Every team faces tough stretches.

            But I'll go with your preferred sample size and say that at 12 – 4, as impressive as that is, that's still only .750. If both teams keep their current pace, the C's will never pass NYK.

            Again I'm rooting for us to do so…and had we beat Charlotte we'd almost be right there (13 – 3 .812). But that's how difficult it is. We can't afford to lose any games we should win. And we'll have to win games we shouldn't (such as sweeping either Miami or Indy and beating both OKC and Memphis in addition to beating NYK both games).

            It's simple math at this point and NYK controls their own destiny in a big way. They win 15 of their next 23 and game over.

          • KillerGymRat

            ADDENDUM: At our current pace we'd finish 17 – 6 (49 – 33 overall)

            NYK (currently 36 – 21) can match that by going 13 -10 or beat that by going 14 – 9.

            Hate to be a buzzkill but those aren't tough numbers to hit even without Melo with their schedule.

          • hydrofluoric

            NYK has 25 games left, not 23. And look at their schedule:

            @GSW/@DEN/@POR road trip, 3 games in 4 nights. Those are all good home teams and it's real tough for an East Coast team to go west and play those night games in such quick succession. That's followed by @LAC/@UTA back-to-back.

            On top of that, 2 games against OKC, 2 games against BOS, and games against CHI, MIA, IND, and MEM.

            That's 13 easily losable games there, and that doesn't include possible trap games like the home-and-home against TOR, home visits from UTA, two games against the Hawks, etc…

            Any team that has a lead controls its own destiny, but they'll need to regain a lot of their early-season form in order to succeed against this slate.

          • KillerGymRat

            Good catch on the game count. But you're fallling into delusional territority when you are counting on a team that, at its worst played better then .500 ball, to suddenly drop below .500 to finish the season, especially when they play most of their games against the East and with 10 games against non-playoff teams that are about to start phoning in games and planning their vacation.

            No way NYK goes 12 – 13 the rest of the way. Even if they somehow did the C's would still have to go 17 – 6 to tie after winning both head-to-heads. Or go 18 – 5 to win outright.

            NYK finishes their season with 3 of their last 6 against Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte and their last game against floundering ATL. I'm glad your optimistic, and I'd love you to be right…but it's wishful thinking.

      • Anthony

        Even as optimistic as I am, it's still pretty tough to gain enough ground to win the division. But Melo is injured and might sit out multiple games, Knicks have 14 remaining road games, and still face the Celts 2 more times so it's not entirely out of the question. It's was a similar situation last season but the Celts closed out the second half really well. Looking back, that's why I hate those bad loss to Bobcats, Hawks, etc that much more.

  • Rav

    A near triple-double only gets you a B+ these days? Sure, there were quite a few TOs but then Pierce also got his points on only 10 shots. I think 18/11/7 is worthy of at least a low A- (I'm sure Rondo would have got one with the same stats).

    • Rav

      Yeah, he definitely played better than KG (who also got a B+).

      • check12check

        i actually I am not bothered by this grade. some of his play was sloppy so that has to factor in. and yes, pierce did fill the stat sheet nicely, but pierce can easily reproduce those assist and rebound numbers while also putting up say 24 points to get that A-. Pierce still has some monster games in him, and those have to the tool by which we measure his A performances

  • Banner18

    Holiday told Avery and Lee to "cool down" on defense. Awesome.