|Brandon Bass, PF 30 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -8Brandon Bass started the game taking Udonis Haslem off the dribble for a dunk and knocking down his first baseline jumper. But on the defensive end, without Kevin Garnett by his side, is where he was a consistent force (for the first time all season).
Bass bodied Chris Bosh in the post and constantly slid back and forth to help create a wall on the strong side. Great game from him on that end. There weren’t any acrobatic blocks, but this was probably the best I’ve ever seen from him guarding the ball.
|Jeff Green, PF 40 MIN | 14-21 FG | 10-13 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 43 PTS | +3There’s nothing really to say about Jeff Green’s performance. If you didn’t see it, shame on you. If you did, then you know it isn’t hyperbolic to suggest this may have been the most impressive two-way individual effort of the season.
He had 14 points in the first quarter, scoring anyway he wanted, whether it be drives through the defense or dagger shots from the corner. Green attempted 13 free-throws on the night, which equaled the combined total from Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
On defense he made LeBron James put forth maximum effort. Something that means a whole lot today. The 43 points were a career high, and the most any opponent has scored against the Heat all season. It was the definition of an A+ performance.
|Paul Pierce, SF 40 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-6 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 7 TO | 17 PTS | -9Overshadowed by Green’s unstoppable offense, Paul Pierce was the one feeding him on those open shots. He did a masterful job making plays for others as well as himself, also finding Avery Bradley for a huge corner three to give the Celtics a two point lead with less than two minutes to go. He nearly finished with a triple double on offense, and defensively held his own against James while taking his fair share of charges.|
|Avery Bradley, PG 31 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -6Bradley struggled handling the ball early on, getting his pocket picked by Mario Chalmers and two of his early shots blocked by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
This has been an issue. Defense has not. His chase down block on Norris Cole was absolutely beautiful, and while some can argue Eric Bledsoe or John Wall as being the game’s best chase down block artists at the point guard position, Bradley is leading the pack.
Offensively, if it wasn’t a layup in transition or an open spot up look, Bradley struggled.
|Courtney Lee, SG 40 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -4Courtney Lee showed some spunk in the first quarter, turning the corner off the dribble and knocking down a runner, then visciously crossing over Chris Bosh (sending him on his tush) before guiding a smooth floater off the glass. Lee’s influence in 40 minutes was especially calming for the Celtics and disruptive for the Heat. He also hit a huge corner three late in the game that was probably his biggest shot since coming to Boston.|
|Chris Wilcox, PF 18 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +6Early in the second quarter it looked like nothing in this universe could slow down Jeff Green. Then Chris Wilcox botched one of his alley-oop passes. He was either slow or flat out incorrect on multiple defensive rotations, each one more devastating than the last.|
|Jordan Crawford, SG 17 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +4Crawford knocked down a step in baseline jumper, a deep three that pushed Boston’s late game lead to 13, and a nifty reverse layup in transition. But he also dribbled the ball off Dwyane Wade’s foot while in his own backcourt, a play that eventually led to a LeBron James dunk and a Miami Heat run. Just Jordan being Jordan.|
|Jason Terry, SG 24 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | +4LeBron James “knighted” Terry with an alley-oop smash (see what I did there?) but the good JET eventually recovered, going on a late second half stretch that saw him hit several big mid-range shots in a row. He also connected with Jeff Green on a gorgeous no-look pass off a pick-and-roll that resulted in two more Celtic points. Overall not the worst game from Terry, even if it’s solely remembered for one of the more ruthless dunks you’ll ever see.|
|Doc RiversFacing what might be the best basketball team since Michael Jordan’s 72-10 Chicago Bulls with his most important player out with the flu, Doc Rivers nearly guided the Celtics to an emotional win. He wasn’t out there playing, but the defensive principles instilled in his team were evident all night. And sticking with an eight-man rotation didn’t hurt.|