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Celtics-Pacers Grades

 

The following article is a post from guest CelticsHub contributor Romy Nehme. Romy’s work can also be found at 2 girls 1 ball

Boston Celtics 83 Final

Recap | Box Score

81 Indiana Pacers
Brandon Bass, PF 20 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -18
If Bass’ first quarter was an audition, it was a bad one that definitely did not earn him a callback. As is typical with Bass, his decision making seems to suffer from some serious lapses in judgment. He shot when he should have passed, hesitated to take the wide open shot from the elbow and forced drives that resulted in embarrassing blocked shots and turnovers. On a night when the Celtics desperately needed him to play bigger than he is, Bass disappointed. To the tune of a -18 in 19 minutes of play.
Paul Pierce, SF 34 MIN | 4-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +5
The first half was not kind to The Truth. Mr. Walking Dead looked like last night’s game had done him in. But as we’ve come to expect with Pierce and as was exemplified by the Jekyll & Hyde end to the first half (pair of incomprehensible turnovers topped off with a zig zagging drive to close the half), Pierce clawed his way back to a decent all around game. The offensive rebound collected off a Bradley missed layup, eventually resulting in a Pierce 3 was big. Just don’t mention the botched iso in the final minute of the game…
Kevin Garnett, C 30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +11
KG started the game the same way he did yesterday: with a flurry of jump shots, scoring the first 7 points in the game. I don’t know about you, but I especially enjoyed the 3pt shot he casually stepped into with 18 seconds left on the clock as though it’s part of his arsenal. While Hibbert looked like he was going to Bigfoot the Celtics out of the gym in the first half, he was conspicuously absent the rest of the way. Credit KG and his loud “shoving players off the baseline” ways. A monster double double in one of the C’s most impressive wins yet.
Avery Bradley, PG 34 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -3
Bradley was up and down this game. He started off the game by making a nice pull up jumper, but was erratic the rest of the way. What was funny about tonight is that an ill-advised turnover was often immediately followed by one of those trademark Bradley plays (e.g. forcing Hill to bounce the ball off his foot and out of bounds, in the backcourt no less). He might not be 100%, and his play is still developing, but you can’t fault him for being aggressive, whether it’s off the dribble or on the break. Especially when he gets loose on the baseline like that for a key play down the stretch.
Courtney Lee, SG 32 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -6
Courtney Lee played an okay game tonight, and that’s why Rivers opted to go with Terry and Bradley down the stretch. He applied his customary Lee pressure, had a few nice defensive plays and pull up Js but was relatively absent.
D.J. White, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2
If DJ White showed us anything in his debut, it’s that he can occasionally play the anti-Bass when needed. DJ made the most of his minutes — which is all we can ask for — with 2 rebounds and 2 blocks after what must have been a nerve-wracking first play in a Celtics uniform (channeling the ghost of Tony Allen with that bobble that was not really his fault anyways).
Jeff Green, PF 34 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +10
Jeff Green. Let those two words sink in. His repertoire has grown so much in the second half of the season that it’s hard to make sense of Jeff Green 1.0. It seems as though good things happen now the moment Green sets foot on the floor. My favorite play is when Green completely telegraphs a drive by taking a few steps back and gets a running start at what is now more likely to result in an elegant gliding finger roll. He embarrassed Hibbert on one such occasion on the switch. The aspect of his game that I think is still the most underexploited? His underrated playmaking ability.
Chris Wilcox, PF 17 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -6
Wilcox continued his high energy play by decorating the box score with a put back layup, a put back dunk, a steal and a dunk off a broken play. His defensive rotations aren’t always the sharpest, but the key with Wilcox from here on out is going to be his activity level, and active he was.
Jordan Crawford, SG 13 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +8
Crawford continued to terrify the masses by playing his helter skelter brand of basketball. While he wasn’t terribly effective today, I think he’s filling Barbosa’s shoes as Terry’s running mate quite well given that he’s still learning the ropes. The Celtics want Crawford to be aggressive despite the occasional blunder while keeping his head up and he did an ok job of that tonight.
Jason Terry, SG 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +7
Jason Terry once made a comment about the difference in the Celtics’ style of play vs. the Mavericks’, alluding to the fact that Dallas uses the PnR more often to free up to shooter rather than to get the ball-handler a good look at the basket. That pedigree is really shining through; that alley-oop to KG was a beauty and so were the pair of passes he delivered to Bradley on the break in the 4th. He’s starting to shed that rust too, offering fans a glimpse of what we can expect from Jet in the playoffs. Kudos on the active hands as well tonight against a team that’s most known to disrupt opponents’ offense.
Doc Rivers
I was going to give Doc credit for that gorgeous last play where Pierce was the decoy (thank god we didn’t have a reprise of the play before), but it turns out that Armond Hill is the one that suggested it after it worked in the first half. Doc kept the team in the game through a number of slumps and the Celtics were able to deliver when it mattered most after a couple of lacklustre mis-executed plays coming out of timeouts earlier in the 4th.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Great rebounding by committee. A severely undermanned squad sticking in there on the boards against the league’s #1 rebounding team featuring a pair of mammoths (playing arguably their best bball of the season) in the frontcourt and a power 3 in George.
  2. A gritty, gritty win on the tail end of a back-to-back playoff-type game that saw the Celtics coming back from numerous deficits throughout the game. The playoffs are going to be ugly, and if the Celtics do end up playing Indiana in the first round (which I doubt), they’ve definitely given the Pacers a reason to be concerned.

Romy Nehme is a Canadian hoops junkie who grew up worshipping the Boston Celtics and is a regular guest contributor for CelticsHub. Romy can also be found at 2 girls 1 ball, which is not nearly as salacious a site as the name might imply. — Ed.]

  • CelticsBIG3

    Thank you for that Bass grade. The guy is truly f#$%ing lost out there. It's truly terrifying how bad he has become. He appears to have ZERO confidence in his game right now. His tentativeness to pull up his 15 foot jumpshots makes him basically useless on the floor for the Celtics. His defense is truly laughable. Man I miss Jared Sullinger.

    • Phil725

      On the good side, he's starting to lose minutes to everyone, which signals that he's starting to run out of the million feet of rope that Doc gave him to start the year. If he continues being the weak link of every defensive rotation 'and' struggling on offense, it's hard to see him continuing to start and getting over twenty minutes. Doc had already benched him for Sully, so it's not like he won't do it again.

      On the bad side, 6.9m in 2015 :/

      I really am sad about losing Sully for the year though. Him and KG gave up 90.6 points per 100 when they were on the court together, the best mark for any two man group on the team. For comparison, Bass and KG are 99.4. Imagine how much better the Cs would be with Sully getting Bass' minutes.

    • Banner18

      Seriously, what is the cause for his complete 180 from last season? That Big Baby-Bass swap looked like one of Ainge's top trades last year. A lot of (season ending) surprises this season, but I think Bass' heinous performance this season tops all of them.

      • CelticsBIG3

        I don't know if he is having trouble playing with expectations hanging over him due to his multi-year contract or what, but he's got to get his head out of his ass.

  • Anthony

    I was pretty anti-JET early in the season but now all I can say is the guy knows how to play. If you look closely at the AB basket the tied the game, you see George Hill more concerned with JET on the 3pt wing rather than AB cutting to the basket.

    I'm not saying CLee deserved better than the C+ but he defend Paul George very well.

    I wonder how many people would be on board to start DJ White over Bass. I wouldn't want to ruin JGreen's rhythm coming off the bench and we need Wilcox to sub in for KG.

    My favorite play of the game has got to be KG's between the leg crossover for the 15 footer. Hibbert was even more flat-footed than usual after KG crossed him over. Lol.

  • fabzzz

    I think Bass's terribleness has a little something to do with how much talent sits behind him on the bench in Jeff Green.

    Great Grades Romy. I would like to see you do them more often. You make a great point about Green's playmaking ability. I have a vague memory of someone saying he was a subpar ball-handler…well, he's not. He's also a good passer. He's great in iso, almost always in a mismatch; put that together and you gotta a great playmaker. Would love to see more pick and rolls with he and Garnett at the top of the key.

    And although his rebounding is not great lets give credit where dfredit is due: the third most rebounds on the team tonight.

  • emg

    I think this game is a huge win for this team. I bet it's the moment when this group officially starts thinking of itself as good and not just randomly winning.

    • Anthony

      Also, it shows the new guys (JC, T-Will, DJ, SRandolph) a winning culture and the grind it out mentality which is very important going forward if they are to contribute.

      There's so much to like about the game and the chemistry between the core guys are really starting to show.

  • mmmmm

    'Pretty much spot-on with the grades, Romy.

    The only quibble I might have is that I think Pierce earned maybe another half grade notch, coming in late with the 'extra credit' work at the end.

    While he stunk it up shooting for much of the night, one has to be fair and recognize that, well, it was that kind of game. Two great defense just went toe-to-toe. No one shot the ball well except for KG. No one.

    Consider that while scoring 13 points on 15 shots is not up to par for Pierce' usual efficiency, his opposite number on the Pacers, Paul George, only scored 16 on 22 shots! Plus Pierce also grabbed 8 rebounds, dished 4 assists, had a steal, a huge block, sank a couple of critical 3PT shots and, of course, set the biggest back pick of the season.

    Also, while I have no quibble with the "A" grade for Green, the ultimate hard fact is that he only shot better than PP by a hair (5 of 14, compared with 4 of 15 for PP), scored fewer points, grabbed one less rebound, dealt the same assists. I'm not saying he didn't have a better game than Pierce, but their production was almost identical.

    Basically, I'm acting like the annoying freshman pre-med student coming in to beg for a bump up in a grade in a 1 credit science lab: I think, given the nature of the game and his play relative to others in the same game, Pierce probably deserves at least a 'B+' grade.

  • check12check

    I wasn't able to watch the game, so i'm confused about the massive praise of JG tonight. I like the assists, rebounds, and blocks, but that 5-14 shooting seems a glaring blemish for the night from our emerging star(on a slightly related note, i am so glad he has me eating my own words right now. dude is ballin' HAAM out there right now.). was he doing this that didn't show up in the box score? please justify that A for me.

    • check12check

      on a note, the game winner obviously merits some extra points, but not enough to magically catapult him to an A

      • kg215

        Completely agree with this. Since when does the game winner great as it was make 11 points 7 rebounds on 5-14 shooting a straight up A? You might as well give Bass a B+ if you are going to be that forgiving.

    • hydrofluoric

      It's the Pacers. No one is going to have a particularly efficient night scoring on em. Green also partook in the entire critical, game-deciding run.

      Players are not created equally and I don't think they should be graded equally, either. Pierce is a proven commodity getting paid $15 million because he's shown he's capable of being worth that. Meanwhile, Green is not even the player that his $9 million appears to state he is. To have a night mirroring Pierce's production is a tremendous triumph for him.

      I think some key, smaller stats might help to show what the PTS/AST/REB do not show on their own:

      - 2 blocks
      - 4 AST/1 TO ratio (on a night where Pierce gave it away 3 times, some of them in the "stripped 38 feet from the basket for a quick fastbreak layup" variety
      - 34 minutes!
      - +10… in the 14 minutes Green didn't play, the Celtics were -8.

      These stats are a bit tenuous on their own, but Green showed a ton of poise out there last night and I think the box score supports it.

      • NZNICK33

        I kinda think he's starting to earn that paycheck

    • mmmmm

      This was one of those games which wasn't about who was shooting at the highest efficiency. Kevin Garnett was basically the only one of the top scorers to put the ball in the net at any high FG%. Of all the guys who actually took more than 3 shots in this game, only KG and Terry shot 50%. Everyone else – EVERYONE ELSE – really struggled to make baskets.

      Green's effort in the game can ultimately only be measured against his peers in the game. Pierce, George, West, Green, Lee, Bass, Hill – all shot pretty miserable in this one.

    • Phil725

      An A seems high to me too, just because I think he would've gotten a B- or B if KG shot and scored on that last second play. That play was just as much about KG's pass and Pierce's screen as it was about Green finishing it. It was a great play all around, not necessarily something that should override everything else for the finisher.

      Still, after as heavy on Green's case I've been this year, I'm not gonna complain about controversial A's. He's starting to contribute more and more, and he did have a positive impact before that bucket as well. That's all I wanted from him from the start, and he's going above that now.

    • Anthony

      JGreen was pretty solid defensively and was aggressive offensively as shown by the 14 FGA and 7 REB. Any time JGreen gets 7 reb warrants a B of sorts. He was also +10 on the +/-. The game winner was just the cherry on top.

  • Phil725

    I said a few weeks ago that I didn't want these teams to meet in the playoffs just because I didn't want to watch 7 games of 79-80 basketball, and the game last night reinforced all of my fears about a potential series. It was ugly and frustrating to watch, but it gets much better when you come out on top at least.

    Most of the credit for the win needs to go to the defense. They had trouble with Hibbert early, but KG stepped up after that and had one of his best defensive games in a while to shut him down. Kind of hard to single out anyone on that side though, Indy got nothing easy all night, and the D tightened up even more in the fourth quarter. The usual 'everyone aside from Bass' commendation seems appropriate…

    Offensively, I thought Terry had another huge game. He didn't really impact the first three quarters, but he made almost every play in the fourth, whether it was his shooting, an assist, or even getting a steal and starting the break. This is the Terry that we were all waiting for earlier in the year.

    Great game for KG offensively as well. Indy continued to give him space early, and he continued to make them pay. If he's off even a little, the Cs don't have the space to operate in the second half. It's amazing how valuable he still is on both sides of the court.

    • Rav

      To me it was great defense on show from both teams – I love watching that kind of game. It's only ugly to me if both teams are bad at offense and defense.

      • Phil725

        I have nothing against good defense (I'm a Celtics fan after all,) but there is a limit for me. When both teams have offensive ratings down in the 80s, the game basically devolves into who hits more of their end of shot clock 3s and bad 18 footers. Last night wasn't quite at that point (the Bulls game right before the ASB was,) but that seemed about average for a Bos/Ind game. In a 7 game series, there would be two or three games in the 70s. I'd rather have the game be decided by someone putting together some offensive rhythm at some point, but that's just my opinion.

        It was great defense by both sides though, no doubt about that.

        • hydrofluoric

          Haha, I'm thinking of George Hill going ballistic scoring 8 points in 1 minute now… but ending the game on an 11-0 run is something worth hanging your hat on.

          Still trying to scrub the remnants of that Philly series from my mind, ugh. Though I'm betting with healthy Avery and more than 1.5 functioning legs between Ray and Pierce, that series looks a whole lot more like the pounding we put on 'em in the regular season finale against them.

          We whupped Indy pretty strong when Avery first rejoined our lineup this year – this game was way uglier. I'm chalking a lot of that up to Rondo. Avery's D is probably underutilized against a team where the best guard is George Hill. Rondo have could have helped a lot here where he gets that type of mismatch, IMO.

          • Phil725

            Well, that game was home for the Cs, and George Hill didn't play, so that stuff also factors in in addition to Rondo. It seems like Indy has the reputation as a deep team, but they're really not. Their starting 5 has been destroying people, but their bench is terrible, break up that lineup with Hill and you make them a lot worse (more DJ Augustin is rarely the right answer.) Add in David West having maybe his worst game of the year (I forget the circumstances around his bad play, but I remember him just missing a lot,) and you have a blow out.

            I don't know who would win a series between the two teams, but I do know that there are teams Indy would rather face than Boston in the first round of the playoffs. I have to think that feeling is mutual from Boston's side, which means they'll probably avoid each other given the normal end of season jockeying for position that takes place.

          • hydrofluoric

            That game was indeed a Celtics home game. But the last time we played Indiana before that was a road game in 2012, and we blew the doors off there too, 86-72, with the likes of Stiemsma and Pavlovic instead of Green and Lee. Both teams have gotten better since then, but the sample size isn't *just* that one game.

  • CG12

    A couple of things stuck out to me. Bass – terrible. The C's back-end rotations have been so bad recently when he is playing. Against Philly, they just started switching on literally everything. I have gone entirely sour on Bass. Pierce really struggles against big, athletic wings. Paul George was giving him fits last night. Pierce was going into his elbow routine and George was all over him. KG's hot start was mostly thanks to PP making dump offs when it was clear he wasn't being able to get his J off against George. He is always going to look to score, but against the Georges, Iggys, and Dengs of the world he needs to recalibrate to less dribbling, more spot-up 3s, and more passing. He did a so-so job of that last night.

  • CG12

    The Cs started out the game getting destroyed on the glass, but, for some reason, Indy didn't seem to press that advantage, which I cannot understand. Indy has the big physical pieces to give the Celtics nightmares, as this year has been a litany of athletic, high-motor forwards bossing the Cs in the paint. Maybe DJ White can give the Cs some valuable minutes of physical paint play. He didn't do much last night, but only made positive plays for the little time he was in. Man, do I hope we don't have to face these guys in the playoffs. They are extremely tough.

  • Boston Bobby

    When bass was on the court the team was a -18. Hoping we get a blowout game and one of the new bigs shows well.

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