Post-game Reactions

Atlanta Hawks 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
107 Boston Celtics
Brandon Bass, PF 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -2

As part of my job duties at CelticsHub, I’m responsible for killing Bass for his rebounding woes and other obvious tangible deficiencies, but even outmatched against Smith and Horford, he hung in there tonight and set people free on offense with a couple of useful picks. Faint praise, sure. Just once I’d like to see him dominate.

Paul Pierce, SF 39 MIN | 10-16 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | +2

Crept up on a sleeping triple-double without quite waking it. Pierce was the offensive beacon again tonight, lighting the way for Jason Terry’s heroics and beaming in a batch of clutch shots. My two favorites: the step-back two-ball towards the end of regulation he usually employs against the Knicks and the 27-foot contested three in overtime. It’s worth mentioning that despite the burden he carried, Pierce managed to do his damage efficiently (27 points on 16 shots).

Kevin Garnett, C 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +9

A rock solid night for Garnett. Without him, or with a VORP-style replacement in his place, the C’s lose this game by 20. My two favorite plays were the three-ball chased with the profane shout and another sighting of the up-and-under move I’ve been longing for since KG threw it at Pau Gasol in the 2008 finals.

Avery Bradley, PG 38 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | 0

A marginal night for Bradley, who came up empty on offense and despite a couple of “hey, Avery stole the ball again” kind of moments, struggled against Jeff Teague, who zipped all over the court like there wasn’t anybody in front of him.

Courtney Lee, SG 28 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +6

I like how Lee is playing. He’s within himself on offense without sacrificing the aggression necessary to, say, throw down a transition dunk. If you upped his usage, you’d get more out of him. But there’s no need to do that right now.

Jeff Green, PF 36 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +10

Less offensive impact than you’d like although he racked up another loud highlight dunk tonight and clattered in a key three-ball. His defense is becoming an area of comfort, though, isn’t it? He’s still not immune to size but his focus on the floor is light years ahead of November. I’m not mad at him anymore. I almost miss it.

Chris Wilcox, PF 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -7

The man the Celtics preferred to offload in the Crawford trade again underwhelmed on defense. He may have been a victim of Doc’s small lineups which routinely included three guards but it’s odd to see him get only 13 minutes against Atlanta’s quality bigs in a game that went to OT.

Jordan Crawford, SG 15 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5

I can already see how challenging it’s going to be to grade Crawford on nights when some of his ludicrous shots actually go down. He made at least a couple of atrocious decisions with the ball, somehow finished his own pass for a layup and was, to my eyes, competent on defense (especially on a night when Bradley struggled).

Terrence Williams, SG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4


Jason Terry, SG 36 MIN | 5-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 19 PTS | +6

He was involved in two of the biggest plays of the game and scored the last five points of overtime (that was a tough three ball – he got it up there quickly). Terry also managed 4 rebounds and 5 assists, which are huge numbers for him. Probably not a turning point, but at 36 minutes, he’s got Doc’s trust and he’ll keep getting run out there.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • I_Love_Green

    Hell of a game. Loving the Celtic Pride in these guys.

  • High Rollers

    KG gets an A+ for not letting his teammates sulk for more than two seconds at any point in this game. He kept heads high and hands slapping at every break in the action. There were a surprising number of times where guys seemed visibly frustrated with each other (ahem… Avery, Jeff… Brandon, Courtney…), but the Big Ticket wouldn't let anything negative snowball out of control. Leading impeccably by example.

  • Ifartgreen

    You have to know lebron and co are looking at the standings every once and a while and watching Boston creep up on them. Let's be honest, we're the only team that is capable of defeating the heat, but it will be difficult without playoff Rondo…

  • NZNICK33

    These guys just never give up. Love it!

  • JK11

    hey there,
    that up-and-under move from KG wasn't in the finals 08 though, it was in the third game of 2010

    • Boston Bobby

      The Dino Radja. Old Dino used that move to score 4-6 points a game. Would love to see Green have any move going to his left. How do you make it to 27years old in the NBA and not have a move off your right hand. How has no coach addressed that issue.

  • check12check

    i think i have to agree that despite their weak place in the standings, the celtics have the best chance to really challenge the heat in the eastern conference.

    I thought the defense looked really good a lot of the game. The hawks were playing some of their best basketball, but the C's did not make it easy for them. AB's d was oddly not up to par tonight though. at points Teague may as well not even have had a defender on him. On a personal note, i wasn't impressed with his interview in which he says he realizes that he has to be the best defender on this team. I seem to remember a guy named kevin garnett plays for this team too. You're doing a great job kid, but you have a long way to go before i will put you ahead of KG.

    really wish we had traded rondo for josh smith. wouldn't you love to have him out there instead of Bass?

    i think i appreciate Pierce more this season that any other season he has played. he is doing everything. suddenly rondo's nightly rebounding/assist numbers look a touch more pedestrian. Sure, he isn't handing out double digit dimes every night, but lately he has been a sure thing for 7 or 8 boards and assists while knocking down shots (and big ones!) like he is playing kids down at the park.

    and much love for JET. that hero 3 was incredible. that it went it was great, but moreover it was like we had ray back for a second. that release was a thing of beauty. I almost had to do a double take at the speed he took that shot with.

  • tbunny

    Pierce was just devastating at the end of the game. That was Kobe and Lebron level play.

    And KG had some moves I don't think I've seen in years. He looked like he had his fluids spun in germany or something.

  • Phil725

    This was a game for the old guys; Pierce, KG and Terry all brought their A games, and they carried the team while everyone else ranged from struggling to okay contributions. Nothing new with Pierce and KG, they're just awesome. For Terry, I really like how he's starting to gel with the team. I complained during the game that I wanted him to get more of the ball handling load, but he did end up with 19 points and 5 assists, so the opportunities were there. He fits so smoothly in the crunch time lineup that I wish they used him like that all game.

    Doc likes to use his post game press conference to push agendas sometimes, but I totally agreed with him praising Terry's defense on Korver. It was the key to the win in a game where Smith, Horford and Teague all played well. Terry's a key guy in the junky defensive schemes that the second unit has been playing lately to deal with the lack of KG's presence (that have been working wonderfully,) and as bad as he might be in straight up defense, he's bringing value on that side of the ball. Bradley's return to full strength has been key to this post-Rondo run, but so has Terry's ascension into a recurring contributor.

    Speaking of Bradley… as someone who really looked at him as the savior of this team (and the defense is about 6 points better since he returned last I checked,) I hold him to a pretty high standard. Last night was probably his worst game of the year, and that includes some ugly ones when his shot was still rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The team continued to start the offense with him dribbling the ball, and it just led to a more stagnant and less productive version of the ball killing offense we all hate. On the other side, Teague got whatever he wanted (26 and 9.) I know AB loves slipping around picks and beating guys to the spot, but he may have to find something else to do against the Ty Lawsons and Teagues of the world; they have the elite speed needed to match Bradley, so his tricks don't work. All in all, just a bad game, and I was more frustrated by the extended run he got when it was clear he was off, both in minutes, and as the offense starter.

    And bad grades for the clutch defense, something that's rarely ever an issue. The Hawks got good shot after good shot in the fourth, and it led to the Cs blowing a 12 point lead late. You can't be giving up wide open 3s and dunks in the last two minutes, and only great offense saved the day. That's the not the position I want to be in. Great win though, and the Cs made the plays they needed to in the end. Overtime was a display in clutch shooting.

    • Anthony

      It's interesting that ESPN interviewed AB regarding his new role on the offensive end post-Rondo. And he stated that it will be a difficult adjustment to have to play PG (bring the ball up, find guys on offense, set up plays, etc.) and still be the Celts best defensive player. For the most he's done very good job of balancing the two. It adds the your point about JET's importance to the team, especially when he handles the ball more often.

  • Boston Bobby

    We have had enough games to say we are a better team without Rondo the numbers don't lie and we almost have 20 games to go off. Why are we playing better without Rondo and who is to blame._ The things we know we are a better defensive team without Rondo. Not because Rondo is incapable of playing D, but because he does not move his feet and takes the lazy man approach with the reach in. We are missing are best dribbler, penetrator, passer and little rebounder. _ The things that don't make sense. We can all see we are better by advancing the ball and putting pressure on the D. We do not have a power post game, bring the ball up slowly is making it easier for the opposing team. The team is now moving the ball and moving. If you get the ball you pass, shot or drive no more dribbling for prolong periods. Doc did a horrible job of integrating Rondo's game into the teams strengths. It was almost like Doc was playing a video game and only cared about leading the league is assists. We have a great coach and front office, but when the team does it self such a disservice it does make you wonder. I would love to hear Doc's opinion on the miss use of Rondo and his inability to get Rondo to play D.

    • Phil725

      There was a piece on ESPN Insider yesterday by Kevin Pelton that I thought nailed the 'better without Rondo?' question better than any other. The numbers show that most of the improvement post Rondo is on the defensive side of the ball, and that the improvement isn't really because Rondo's gone, but because Bradley is back. Rondo and Bradley were putting up very good defensive numbers together, but Bradley's numbers have gotten better as he's gotten more comfortable. His peak performance coincided with Rondo's injury, but that's just a coincidence. The ultimate conclusion was that while the Celtics aren't better because Rondo went out, the ease with which they've replaced his contributions is very peculiar.

      For this regular season, Bradley is a lot more important to this team than Rondo, and that just seems incomprehensible.

      Pertaining to your last point about Doc, I'd love to hear a truth serum'd answer about his opinions on Rondo's start to the season. I think he almost has to feel betrayed after putting so much trust and responsibility on Rondo, only to have him return that by playing embarrassingly disinterested defense and offense that didn't always give the team the best chance to win. Doc went all in on Rondo, and it didn't pay off.

      • check12check

        i don't know if I agree with that analysis of the team post rondo. imho (and i do like to point out that i am a notorious rondo hater.), rondo is sort of like the player jeff green was earlier in this season (on a side note, how fantastic has he been lately!? If he keeps it up maybe that contract is justified.) in that he does things that look good (highlight passes instead of dunks and some good assist totals), but is detrimental in so many other ways that his talent (which rondo clearly does have) is not worth the overall impact to the game. maybe a better comparison is the players Carmelo used to be (i've also loved watching him finally start to get it in regard to what he has to do to be really successful. I always knew he had the ability (much as rondo does) if he would pull his head out of his ass.)

        sorry if that is a touch hard to read. i used my monthly quota of () in that single post

        • Phil725

          I don't think Rondo was that detrimental this year, outside of the couple games where he just completely no showed and got obliterated by the Brandon Knights of the world. He definitely wasn't bringing as much to the table as he should as the team's most talented player though. Just because the team stepped up once he went out doesn't mean that they would've earlier if Rondo had played worse. He did contribute to a lot of wins, even if the overall package was disappointing.

          I kind of like the Carmelo comparison in that he has the tools, but needs to put them together and use them in the proper way to give the team the best chance to win. There needs to be some kind of balance between Playoff Rondo and Regular Season Rondo, because you can't have the team's leader taking games off and playing the wrong way. I have to think this experience is going to be good for Rondo in the end, and hopefully he figures it out for next year.

          I'm very interested to see what happens next year, because it seems like we'll have one more run with the PP/KG core, and Rondo still needs to prove to Ainge and Celtics ownership that he's worth a max contract and being the player to build around. It's conceivable that he could be traded if the team doesn't believe that as well.

        • hydrofluoric

          The Knicks play better without Melo though. They just dug themselves out of a big hole on the road after he left, then pounded Detroit on the road (not as easy at it sounds, as we Celtics fans know) and took OKC within just a single point of winning. And of course we all know what happened when he went down last year.

          Rondo is not nearly that cancerous in general, but this year, I do think losing him helped the team to come together. Also, I love the Avery/JET backcourt!

          • Phil725

            It's worth noting that Anthony has been much better this year than the past few. He's been pretty much neutral on defense, and the offense is top 5 with him and league average without him. The team has risen in his absence a few times, but they've also played consistently better with him this year.

            His player archetype (high volume scorer who's neutral/bad on D,) will never be as valuable as everyone likes to think, but he's improved on both sides of the ball, and has been a very good player for New York this year. If Rondo can make a jump like Anthony has from last year to this year, we'll all be very happy.

      • Boston Bobby

        If Rondo was only as coach able as Bradly I would feel much better about are future. We can only hope having to watch from the sidelines has changed his perspective. Ya and if Green could find a left hand are future would be promising.

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