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Game 1/82: Celtics-Raptors Grades

Boston Celtics 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Toronto Raptors
Brandon Bass, PF 32 MIN | 6-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +12

Bass scored 17 points without unnecessarily expanding his game. With the departure of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the fear was that Bass would take it upon himself to start trying things he’s not good at: dribbling, shooting threes, drive-and-kicking, etc. Apart from a couple of times where he tried to push the ball on the break– one leading to a picked-pocket and one leading to a deadend– Bass did what he’s done since he came to Boston. He shot midrange jumpers (5-for-6), guarded perimeter players, and played hard. I would have expected more rebounds with Brad Stevens actually allowing his players to crash the glass but I see this as a step in the right direction (did somebody say “Trade Value?!”).

Jeff Green, PF 37 MIN | 8-16 FG | 7-9 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | +8

Jeff Green said before the season that he wanted to be a 20 point a night scorer. The go-to guy for the Celtics. So far so good.

The fact that Green didn’t change up his game is the part of his performance I find most intriguing. He still attacked the basket in transition with varying success. He still didn’t rebound particularly well for a guy his size playing as many minutes as he did. And he’s still very limited in the half court (mostly corner threes).

That is, until 4:08 left in the fourth quarter! I wrote down the time so I could go back and watch it on repeat. Did anybody catch this? Green had the ball on the right wing, held it in the triple threat position, and instead of making a slow, long-strided attempt to get to the rim or shoot a straight up jumper over an outstretched hand, he put the ball on the floor, escape-dribbled to his left to create space and drained a step-back jumper. A bonafide go-to scorer-type of move. Paul Pierce-esque.

Gerald Wallace, SF 40 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 3 PTS | -1

I might be the only one that liked Gerald Wallace’s game last night. Sure, his stat sheet left much to be desired in the way of stuffing but I find the way he throws his body around the court to be very cathartic. You’ll never have to hold yourself back from hurtling your remote at the TV because Wallace didn’t make an effort to grab that rebound.

Vitor Faverani, C 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -17

Faverani? More like FAVORITE-ani. Amiright?

The C’s only center started the game off aggressive and looking for his offense early and often. It was almost as if this was some intentional brilliance or out-of-the-box wrinkle devised by Stevens. That is, until it became clear it was just Faverani’s DGAFrick attitude. I’m going to love watching this guy play.

Avery Bradley, PG 31 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | -3

Bradley is trying to do a lot of things for the Celtics and it’s clear he hasn’t quite put it all together. Most notably, he’s trying to be a leader on the floor which is something that doesn’t come natural to him. It’s an unfortunate reality. The only other person that should be that demonstrative, on-court leader is Jeff Green and we all know that ain’t happening.

Kelly Olynyk, PF 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -19

In Dirk Nowitzki’s first NBA game, he scored two points and had four assists in a 92-86 loss. I think we all know what this means.

Kris Humphries, PF 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +12

Humphries threw himself a shot-following party and he was the only one invited. The more he plays like a role player that puts up numbers rather than an offensive focal point, the more some team trying to make a playoff push is going to want him.

Phil Pressey, PG 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -4

Pressey seemed a bit jumpy in his first professional game. This jumpiness earned him a quick rookie whistle from the officials. He was also woefully ineffective in the half court. All of these put together made for a short leash tonight. Here’s hoping that leash gets longer!

Jordan Crawford, SG 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -2

Amazing unselfish drive-and-kick to Humphries followed up by a ridiculous 36 foot bomb. You freaking enigma.

Courtney Lee, SG 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -16

When juxtaposed with Crawford, Lee leaves such a soothing feeling for the viewer. I’m looking forward to see how effective they can be making up that second unit over a bigger sample size.

Jared Sullinger, PF DNP SUSPENDED BY TEAM MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Don’t do that.


Hmmmm….really curious DNP here.

Five Things We Saw

  1. This was, for all intents and purposes, an extension of the preseason. Nothing demonstrates this more than the 39 combined turnovers (22 of them from the Celtics). This has got to tighten up. Not so the Celtics can win more games, but so they don’t completely forget how to take care of the ball.
  2. The Celtics offense is both unrefined and extremely varied. This presents a lack of continuity which is unsettling, but there’s also a plethora of options which is exciting. We’re so used to watching set plays that free Kevin Garnett for a jumper or Paul Pierce for a baseline cut or Ray Allen for a corner three. It’s anarchy now. The only thing left to do is watch it burn…or, you know, develop into a more consistent approach once the players get used to each other.
  3. Cedric Maxwell was on FIRE last night!

    Highlights include, but are not limited to:
    1) the long, aimless, off-the-mark oak tree analogy
    2) his attempt to understand the new delay of game rules by asking Mike Gorman if he’d be allowed to head or bicycle kick the ball (nice plug for the NE Revolution CSNNE, but I’m hip to your game)
    3) on Jordan Crawford’s made 36-footer: “That shot was brought to you by the letter ‘Y.’ Why did he shoot that? But he knocked it down. Wow.”
    4) on Brandon Bass posting up: “He got him right in the popcorn popper.”

    If opposing fans hated Tommy’s homerism, they’re going to really hate Max’s absurdity.

  4. After shooting 1-for-2 on three point attempts last night, Amir Johnson is slowly going down the road that leads to everything bad about Josh Smith’s game. This should be fun to watch.
  5. I’m dying to see Jonas Valanciunas break out. He all but fumbled his way to 8 points and 11 boards. Once he gets that sweeping hook down, he’s going to be good.
  • hydrofluoric

    What did Lee do exactly to earn a B-?!

    Otherwise, happy to see Bass and Hump looking eminently tradeable.

    • The Cardinal

      Only stepped on the out-of-bounds line once at a critical time? That's the best I can do, because he continues to look lost and almost useless to me.

      I do agree with Brendan that Gerald Wallace had a positive impact way beyond the stat sheet (and 4 steals ain't nothing to sneeze at). Honestly, if we are trying to win, it looks like he is going to be the one guy that you would want on the floor during crunch time.

      Another observation (and its a carryover from last season): the team simply plays better when Jordan Crawford is on the floor to handle the ball than it does when Avery Bradley is handling the ball, regardless of which combination of players are out there. If we are truly intent on tanking, then continuing to play AB at point (along with 15 – 20 minutes of Courtney Lee at either guard) will probably lead to 70 losses.

  • hax

    Hey Cavaliers, how is that Bennett-Clark going? Oh average? We have this veteran leader guy named Gerald Wallace that could lead you to a championship. Yeah 2014 1st round pick sounds fair, we'll just take just expiring contracts in exchange. Thanks.

  • skeeds

    Maaaaaan… How screwed up is it that the only dependable professionals we have on this roster are the ones we're gonna dump to move the "rebuilding process"?
    Because Bass, Crash, Humphries and Green are just the kind of players that we'll realize we need when we'll be looking to be a good team, and instead of that we'll still be praying for Bradley to evolve like a goddamn pokemon and Olynik to be a once in a generation player (lightheartedly comparing any guy to Novitzki is just ridiculous. Novitzki's offensive skill set simply doesn't exist, in any player, in any era. It is easier to find the new Kobe Bryant than to find the new Dirk).
    Other than that, I cannot but appreciate Crash, cause he still gets his hands dirty, even though he's a vet on a faaaat paycheck who's had a long unfortunate history of having to lead lousy teams instead of being a #3 option for a good one, which is precisely what his place should be. If that guy had played for a contender instead of the Bobcats for half of his career, we'd be praising him as a quintessential "glue" guy, instead we make fun of him because he used to be a "franchise player"…

  • check12check

    so guys…..I really want to make this happen. In Kelly Olynyk, we have a 7 footer who looks like he might become a really good shooter and one with range to boot. If he lives up to it, can we give him the nick-name 'Splash-Mountain'? I think it's just perfect.

    Anybody with me?