|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.