Before we get to the grades, you kind of have to see these two plays, in case you missed them in real time.
Shades of Larry Bird, anyone?
Also, Gerald Wallace went ahead and threw down EASILY his best dunk as a Celtic, and (for my money) the best dunk by any Celtic so far this year. That’s saying something when Boston employs Jeff Green, but judge for yourself:
Air Gerald has never looked so good (or at least, he hasn’t looked this good since he was wearing a Charlotte Bobcats uniform). And now, the grades.
|Brandon Bass, PF 34 MIN | 4-9 FG | 8-9 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -1Any time you can get nine free throw attempts and nine rebounds out of Brandon Bass, you have gotten about as much as you can ask for out of Brandon Bass.|
|Jared Sullinger, PF 35 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +7The lowest grade of the starters, it was an inefficient night for Sully overall, but he had the game-clinching shot: A stepback jumper from just inside the 3-point line. He also did most of his work in the post, which was good to see. His 3-pointers have been a fun revelation, but Sullinger’s inside game is more important.|
|Avery Bradley, PG 30 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +8Corner 3-pointers? Aggressive on-ball defense? Backdoor cuts? This version of Avery Bradley looked like the version which stole a starting spot from Ray Allen back in 2011-12.|
|Jeff Green, SG 32 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +218 extremely efficient points for Green, including a couple of enormous 3-pointers with about eight minutes remaining as the Bucks were threatening.|
|Jordan Crawford, SG 39 MIN | 8-14 FG | 5-7 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | 0Crawford had the best night of all the starters, which is saying something when you see Bradley, Green and Bass’s performances. Steez led the Celtics in both scoring and assists, and his 25 points came on just 14 shot attempts, as well as 4-for-7 3-point shooting.|
|Kris Humphries, PF 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +12Eight rebounds in 20 minutes? Kris Humphries would have made a big difference on last year’s squad.|
|Gerald Wallace, SF 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +2A typically pedestrian line for Wallace belies his dunk we showed you above.|
|Vitor Faverani, C 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2Vitor entered the game, ran up and down the floor several times without falling down, and returned to the bench.|
|Phil Pressey, PG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +6Pressey mostly did what Faverani did, just at a MUCH lower altitude.|
|Courtney Lee, SG 16 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +6In his first game back from a knee injury, Lee looked very sharp, knocking down a 3-pointer and a variety of shots inside the arc. As usual, scoring and on-ball defense were all he did, but they were also the only things required of him.|
|MarShon Brooks, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Marshon’s big chance…was not tonight.|
Although the game was close for much of the second, third and fourth quarters, the outcome never really felt in doubt. The things that were hurting the Celtics on Saturday were mostly cleaned up, and it was clear Stevens had done some scouting. I’m excited to see what Stevens can do strategically in a playoff series, when he gets (at least) three chances to adjust to an opposing coach’s schemes. I just hope his first opportunity isn’t this year.