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Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92: Jeff Green Rocks (Full Grades)

 
Boston Celtics 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Cleveland Cavaliers
Chris Wilcox, PF 21 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Wilcox opened the game by playing the entire first quarter, and it felt like in those opening minutes as if the Cleveland Cavaliers were strategically attacking him on every single possession. But apart from a Tyler Zeller blow by, he actually did a pretty good job.
Brandon Bass, PF 37 MIN | 8-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 22 PTS | 0
A lot of things made me feel like I’d warped into a dark, alternate universe while watching this game; Brandon Bass as Boston’s leading scorer sits at the top of the list.But seriously, a nice, efficient game from a guy who’s playing with more responsibilities than he should probably be able to handle.
Jeff Green, PF 41 MIN | 7-18 FG | 5-8 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +1
Starting at shooting guard as the Doc Rivers chose to go with a larger starting lineup, Jeff Green had two beautiful slashes to the basket in the first quarter (with his left-hand!). Minutes later he took a charge right after cutting off a Wayne Ellington drive.Later on he took the game’s first technical free-throw (instead of Pierce) and knocked down a ridiculous turnaround 28-footer with two seconds on the shot clock.

By the end of the first quarter he had 9 points, and the Celtics had a six point lead that eventually stretched to 10.

Green didn’t score a point in the second quarter and the Celtics led by one going into the half. What does that mean? Jeff Green is important. Oh, right. He also hit a game-winning layup as time expired. No big deal.

Paul Pierce, SF 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 7 TO | 19 PTS | +4
Pierce spent the first half of this game playing “cool,” as Doc Rivers would say, trying to do too much on the offensive end and forcing the ball into places it shouldn’t go. (He accounted for six of Boston’s 10 turnovers in the first two quarters.)It continued as the game went on, as Pierce strolled into pull up jumpers, missed wide open threes, and played like a guy who would’ve preferred not to be playing basketball.

Despite it all, Pierce calmly hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to cut Cleveland’s three point lead to one in the closing seconds of the game. That’s why, in the words of Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, Pierce “might be” a Hall of Famer.

Avery Bradley, PG 36 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +1
Avery Bradley missing shots in the paint has quickly become Boston’s most depressing individual trend. He missed his first (and only?) shot in the paint tonight.On the other end, Shaun Livingston gave Bradley his most difficult matchup since Greivis Vasquez. Size matters.
Shavlik Randolph, PF 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -4
It’s really nice when a new player not only realizes his role, but goes out and executes it to perfection. That’s what Randolph did after entering this game in the second quarter. He attacked the basketball on all rebound attempts. He took charges. He protected the rim. He got his nose dirty. He ran the floor. He missed a free-throw.Great job here by Shavlik Randolph, giving the Celtics exactly what they need with Kevin Garnett out of the lineup.
Jordan Crawford, SG 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +11
I don’t know about you, but as a Celtics fan I’m really beginning to enjoy Jordan Crawford in a green uniform. Maybe it’s because this team has has nothing to lose—and Crawford is the personification of that mindset—but it’s getting to the point where I trust him with the ball.Funky, off-balance, contested shots aside, Crawford might be the best passer on this team. Or maybe I just really miss Rajon Rondo.
Terrence Williams, SG 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -8
There are 10 seconds every game where Terrence Williams looks like a blossoming lottery pick. I must’ve been returning from a bathroom break when they happened tonight.
Jason Terry, SG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +5
At moments, Jason Terry plays like he’s unaware of his age, trying to take much younger players off the dribble and completely failing to get any separation before the shot goes up.I still think every one of his shots is going in after it leaves his fingertips though.
Doc Rivers
Rivers chose to start the game with Chris Wilcox in the starting lineup instead of Jordan Crawford, a strategic and necessary move that we’ll hopefully see more of until Kevin Garnett returns.Also, giving minutes to Shavlik Randolph is a wise decision. And the play design on that last shot was simple yet effective.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Celtics had one offensive rebound in the first half, despite playing Shavlik Randolph for an extended stretch and going big with Chris Wilcox in the starting lineup.
  2. For stretches of this game, in particular the third quarter, the Celtics played their worst basketball of the season. Carefree offense. Aimless defense. Constant frustration.
  • KillerGymRat

    Nice grades. Bass finally deserves the one he got. He was really solid and made some big shots. Green is definitely needed. Hopefully he gets that, and being aggressive becomes the norm. It was a surprise PP passed up the T to him (though he missed it).

    I actually like Crawford. I can see why he didn't fit in with Washington. He has that crazy confidence and the ability to make tough shots. Put him on a court with no talent and he's going to shoot every time clearly believing he's the best person to take it. But now, with some clear talent around him you get to see that he really understands the game and is an excellent passer (surprisingly good with the cross-court in traffic to a spot up shooter). I'm still a little leery of his decision making in a clutch moment, but I don't think it's an exaggeration to say he's an improvement over Barbosa and can really fill it up.

    AB gets blocked nearly every game. Sad to say. A trend I'm excited to see come to an end.

    • High Rollers

      I like Crawford too. Reminds me of Nate.

  • Anthony

    Woohoo… damn overhyped Heats lose! They really should've lost like 10 games ago against the Magics but the ref helped them escape with that one.

    Go Celts!

  • High Rollers

    Reminder of what a tough club Chicago is. Nice work. And pretty much the clincher was Lil’ Nate breaking #20′s ankles for a high kiss lay up in the Miami trees. Very nice.

    • Anthony

      I saw the post game interview with Lebron and he's talking crap about some of the "non-basketball" fouls that they make on him. Yet he threw that cheap shot on Boozer. How come people don't tweet about that? Man, I just wanted to tell him to STFU. Just say Chicago was the better team tonite and move on.

      Then there's DWade who tries to sell the flagrant fouls by appearing like he hurt when they knocked him down by the cameramen.

      I hate the Heat almost as much as I hate the Lakers. Speaking of which, what about that no-call on Kobe? Are you serious?

      Lol… Let me calm down, This is too much basketball for one nite.

    • wayne

      the non-call on Kobe for literally mauling that shooter in the act of shooting a shot which could have tied the game was an embarrassment to an already embarrassing league. My goodness!
      This league is a complete sell-out joke. The front office gives the instructions each day and these clowns (called refs) are just pansies who follow & carry out their commands. If that shooter had been Kobe, or any Laker player, 3 free-throws would have been guaranteed. And these flunky commentators just shut their mouths and play along with the script because they are dependent on the league for their careers and paychecks as well.

      • Anthony

        What happen to Kobe's comment about protecting the shooter? Lol.
        Rubio got whacked in the arm and the back of his head.

        Yea, the league is a joke when it comes to officiating. The headline on ESPN is "Tackle Basketball, Anyone?"… what a freaking joke. It's OK for Lebron to run through people to get to the basket but he whines like a freaking baby when someone tries to stop him. He also whacked Boozer on the layup in addition to his WWE elbow.

  • KillerGymRat

    So happy that they lost. LOTS of help during that streak for Miami. First from the refs…then a favorable schedule…in a favorable division…in a favorable conference…and then every tough team is missing a key starter right now (if not more). Give Chicago Noah, Rose, Bellini and Rip and that game isn't even close. Give us KG and we likely stopped them at 22.

    They were extremely lucky throughout (even in tonights game they got several favorable keys and ridiculous bounces).

    Tell you what is the most impressive thing about that streak….they win 27 straight and are now just 2 games better than San Antonio. Not sure why everybody sleeps on that team, but with all the injuries and how they rest players, they're the real story this season. Amazing.

    We now return you to the Jeff Green did'em again thread.

    • High Rollers

      This is just an all around basketball appreciation night. Like basketball Thanksgiving.

      Jeff Green gave us something to hope for (for the second time). True Beast of the Southern Wild. Tonight "he's the man." At least amongst Celtics' fans. (I know, I know, it was Cleveland's B-Team. But we needed it in a bad way.)

      Nate reminded us of the Donkey and Shrek ecstasy of coming through out of nowhere on a pretty big stage.

      The Heat streak let us revel unabashedly in nostalgia and competitive loathing. So, thanks for that.

      Chicago informed of us what the streak really meant… everything and nothing at the same time.

      A memorable night.

  • tbunny

    Honestly the Celtics barely played better today than yesterday. Against a playoff team they lose by 10 easy. Pierce and Bradley look hurt to me. Bass and Crawford seemed like the only guys who showed up. Dead cat bounce?

  • end of shit

    atlanta and knicks
    here we come
    2 more losses and Miami will greet you in play-offs

  • KillerGymRat

    They win 27 games straight and when they finally lose LeBron cries that the refs aren't protecting him. And this is after the team walked off and snubbed Chicago by not shaking hands after the game. What a baby. Really, you go six games without a foul and you think the refs don't protect you? Isn't this the same guy who basically slammed JT to the court by driving a knee through his chest then stood over him to add insult to injury?

    Best of all he prefaces his complaint by saying "I'm not sitting here crying about anything,"…[then proceeds to cry]

    Of course he says it's been happening all season, but waits to say it until after they lost.

    What a sad, sad human being. Learn how to lose you baby, and stop crying.

    • CelticsBIG3

      For real. I was disgusted by those comments. The NBA officials dick-ride Lebron and Wade hard and put them away wet night in and night out. What more does this guy want? There was a play in the third where Lebron clearly knocked the ball out and he jawed at the ref for five minutes; no tech. Right before he checked Boozer who was setting a screen you could see his eyes zero in on him proving his intent to injure Boozer. Flagrant one; ya right, anyone else is ejected for that play. Nate Robinson hits that little floater and Lebron is HANGING from the rim as it goes through. No tech; and why? Because there was still time left and a tech for rim hanging (especially on the DEFENSIVE basket!) would have been his second and they would have had to eject him. That's not going to happen. But they don't protect him at all…..

      • Danny

        God I hate the heat. Ive never seen a more babied team. They bitch about everything. At least now the is this the greatest team weve ever seen ESPN bullshit can stop. I love how they pretend that anyone outside of South Florida and the typical frontrunners who get behind the hot team of the moment, actually like the Heat and that theyre not the most universally disliked team in the NBA.

        The greatest team talk was insulting how quickly people forget the great teams of old. Do people really think this years Heat would have had a chance against the 86 Celtics, the 87 Lakers, or the 96 Bulls. I mean honestly. And those are just the most obvious. There not even the best team Ray Allen has ever been on. The 08 Celtics would kill this team.

        • KillerGymRat

          Seriously. I really wish you could have a time machine to see those kinds of matchups. If LeBron cries like that against what was an undermanned (and truthfully not all that athletic) Bulls team. Can you imagine what Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and the 3-headed center would do to him? Jordan would humiliate D-Wade and I'd love to see LeBron try and swat any of MJs dunks.

          And man would it be fun to see the 08 Celtics go to work on these guys. KG Prime goes for 30 ppg 20 rebs amd 5 blks for the series.

          I would actually love to see them have to go through the 88/89 Pistons. I don't think that was a particularly great team, but it would show LeBron what real physical play used to be so he can stop crying when a guy like Heinrich wraps him up because he's getting shoved onto his but by yet another bull charge. Give him a little Laimbeer, Mahorn, young Rodman and some Sally, then make them chase around Isiah, Dantly, Aguirre and Dumars. You'd really see how much of his game is based on being more physical than his opponent (an advantage that is gone against this team) and while he would still get good assists, his rebounding and scoring would plumet, and he'd have to earn it all from the line where his crappy free throw shooting would kill him.

          They really don't belong anywhere in the conversation of greatest teams. The streak is impressive, but their overall record has them (at best) winning 67 games. That's nothing extraordinary, especially with the league office in their pocket.

          • Danny

            Exactly. I think if Lebron had to play the Bad Boy Pistons he would curl into the fetal position. Your crying over Kirk Hinrich, seeing him take a hit from Lambeer or young Rodman would bring tears to my eye lol. You get just a little bit too physical with this team and they fold, or David Stern calls down and the refs start with the phantom fouls. Ill give them that their good, but the talk about greatest team ever is ridiculous, you dont even have to go back to the classic teams to find teams that could beat them. The 08 Celtics would put a hurting on them so would the 09 Lakers. Im not conviced their gonna even win the ship this year, I still think whoever comes out of the West is the favorite. But what do we now gymrat were biased Celtics fans lol. But to think that Jordan, Bird, Magic, or Isaiah would lose to the Heat is beyond laughable.

      • Anthony

        While I only watched the highlights, I looked at the boxscore and Lebron has 1 foul!!! 1 foul!! I can only assume it was for that WWE elbow he laid on Boozer. Normally I'm not a Boozer fan but he took it like a man and told Lebron to STFU in not so many words.

        They should show Lebron his big time flop from the TChandler elbow and the Bass elbow. As Shaq would say, there's a sniper in the house, tragic johnson.

  • hydrofluoric

    I'm very glad I watched 15 game minutes of the Celtics game versus 30 game minutes of the Bulls game,

    Incredible that a near-triple- (quadruple, really!) double, including taking over in crunch time, gets only a B- from Pierce. Is it his fault that he's trying to shoulder too much of an offensive burden, or is it a reflection of how his teammates have been playing passively and ineffectually lately?

    C'mon guys, no need to be bitter about the Streak.

    1. No team has ever won anything significant without luck on their side. Still takes a ton of skill to win that many in a row; otherwise it would never happen. Denver rolled off 15 in a row and then lost by 20 to a lottery team. The Heat were within 2 possessions at the very end of the game, and while the whistle was overall fair, a flagrant on LeBron's drive to the basket or a regular personal foul on LeBron on the other end, and that could be a different game. Again, luck.

    2. LeBron's antics and crying can be frustrating to watch, but the man does get legitimately mugged on a lot of moves. He doesn't have that stiff upper lip we usually like to see Winning makes everything better and losing makes everything worse, which is why you don't see them complaining after games they won. It's not necessarily being a bad sport to point out the physicality of the game afterward.

    3. Finally, I loved it when Pierce said "I hope they lose every game" about the Heat. But it would be a double-standard not to love it that LeBron is being a bad sport about losing. Michael Jordan absolutely hated losing and was never, ever a good sport about it. When it's a guy we already hate, the competitive fire increases the magnitude dislike for him, but when it's a guy we like,all is fine and dandy and that competitiveness augments the likable qualities.

    4. Dwyane Wade is still total scum. I agree with every criticism about him.

    • KillerGymRat

      I can't agree with you on #2.

      Everytime he drives to the hoop he shoulders his way through the defender, and continuously rams into them ala Barkley or Shaq. But those guys did it in the post (I hate that aspect of basketball regardless as it's just crap and the rules clearly state it's illegal – but somehow never called)…LeBron does it on the wings and whenever he touches the ball. He also always uses his off arm to dislodge and push off.

      He's the most physical elite player in the game, and constantly aggressively shoving or bulling his way around. He gives WAY more than he takes and elbowing Boozer hard in the chest should have got him a flagrant 2 and tossed like it would any other guy who throws a strike.

      Shaq and Barkley gave it. But they took it too. Shaq maybe more than anyone ever. I don't recall them crying like this. Barkley kinda loved it. If LeBron is going to give it (and give it he does) then shut up and take it. Stop FLOPPING and throwing your head around and be a man. Don't cry because you lost a game and blame it on the officials.

      • tbunny

        Oh that was righteous.

        I'm actually ambivalent about the streak because I think it was a great opportunity for them to peak early.

      • hydrofluoric

        Most of what LeBron does on offense is legal though. The current rules specifically give benefit of the doubt to the offensive player if he has the right of way. That contact is only illegal when it comes against a guy who's standing outside the restricted area, and has his feet planted before LeBron really gets moving. But LeBron beats basically everyone off the dribble, so the people he shoves off are all running alongside him or just sliding into position when the contact happens. It's physical, but it's not an offensive foul. It might not be pretty basketball, but it's not the offensive player's fault there and in that sense, while LeBron does benefit from the refs a bit, he's not getting away with murder when he drives.

        I should also add that LeBron doesn't do what tons and tons of players do on defense, which is foul intentionally to hurt the other player and prevent him from making a layup. He protects the rim well without following by letting his guy get just by him right at the basket, then going up and blocking or contesting strongly. He does this to Kirk Hinrich in the fourth quarter in the half-court; it looks like he's getting blown by, but he's avoiding committing a defensive foul by conceding a bit of position. Stiemsma's blocks usually came like this, too.

        In short – yes, LeBron is super physical on offense, but the rules permit that for perimeter players; and he's not super-physical on defense (at least in terms of committing fouls near the basket).

    • CelticsBIG3

      The whole team flops and complains during the entire game. Every game.

    • Anthony

      It only sounds bitter because it's not a level playing field. Lebron and Miami are thoroughly protected by the league. I admit I didn't care much for their streak but the ORL game stood out because I watched that final mins. ORL was up 3 and they called Tobias Harris for a charge instead of an And 1. That's a 50-50 call. Harris, ORL best offensive player that day, fouls out. Following play, Bosh draws a foul on Vucevic, their best player and Miami destroyer, fouling him out. OK, I can say that's a 50-50 call. Next play, Dequan Cook gets "blocked" by DWade leading to bad 3FGA by Harrington. The "block" can be considered a 50-50 call. Had the "block" happen on Miami's end, it would've been a foul. That's 3 straight 50-50 calls in Miami's favor in less than a minute. Final foul tally… Orl 30, Mia 17, Lebron 0

      Take the Celts game. Celts strength was pace and running Heat out the gym. How do you stop that? Call ticky tack fouls. How do you stop JGreen who was having a monster game? Put Lebron on him since he never gets called for anything. Final foul tally… Bos 26, Miami 18, Lebron 3

      Lebron has not fouled out of a game in 6 years! The headline on ESPN today? "Tackle Basketball, Anyone?"… what a freaking joke. It's OK for Lebron to run through people to get to the basket but he whines like a freaking baby when someone tries to stop him. He also whacked Boozer on the layup in addition to his WWE elbow.

      • Anthony

        In the close game against Philly. Final foul tally… Phil 22, Mia 10, Lebron 1. This is a road game in Philly for God's sake.

  • CG12

    Huge late game run and a beast of a finish by Jeff Green. Great to see him getting amped up.

    But the C's were largely crap for the middle half of this game. They had a couple of extended runs in Q2 and Q3 that were just excrutiating. Boneheaded TOs; sludgy, predictable offense; not getting back on D in transition. I feel like any time the C's are trying to really "run their stuff" the offense just bogs down into walking it up, running a grade school weave, and taking 10 seconds to throw a bad entry pass to a guy a pace inside the 3-point line. And they do have some issues telling the difference between playing fast, loose, and aggressive, vs. driving headlong to the hoop any time you get a peek at it in transition. Pushing the ball up doesn't mean you have to take it to the rack against 3 guys.

  • CG12

    This might be me being a complete moron, but Shavlik Randolph is looking like a rather nice scrap heap pick-up as a 4th big guy. He knows how to play team D (recovering after hedging a screen to pick off an attempted pass to the roll man) and he can actually rebound, unlike virtually every one on the team. As of now I'd be pleased to see him stick around.

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