Brandon Bass, PF38 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +4 +/-Kind of frustrating that 38 minutes of Brandon Bass gets you the exact same results 20 minutes would (I know, old news). But props for repeatedly crushing Whiteside, as he seemed to be the only one doing that.
Jae Crowder, SF29 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +2 +/-Made a lot of great defensive plays. He almost always immediately followed them with terrible offensive plays, but… whatever, glass half full.
Tyler Zeller, C32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 5-8 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -5 +/-BOOOOO on the late free throws, but that might be the most post moves we’ve seen from Zeller in a single game this year. Also can’t fault him too hard for Whiteside putting in cheat codes for the day, those were not easy shots he was taking.
Avery Bradley, PG33 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +4 +/-Mediocre start, got really hot in the third. Loved the ball pressure especially in the third. I’ll say it again, he’s finally getting his defensive mojo back. Hope his thumb will be OK.
Evan Turner, SG19 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -13 +/-Is it time to give Smart the starting reigns? At least until whatever’s ailing Turner gets fixed? Turnover machine, can’t hit a barn, getting beat everywhere, just depressing lately.
Jared Sullinger, PF19 MIN | 3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | -13 +/-Don’t be late on game-day, idiot. Might as well have stayed home altogether, did nothing out there.
Gerald Wallace, SF7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -2 +/-Not sure putting Gerald Wallace in to try and cure your offensive woes is an ideal gameplan.
Phil Pressey, PG8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -8 +/-It was obvious he was trying hard, it just didn’t lead anywhere.
Marcus Smart, PG30 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +6 +/-Another one who couldn’t hit a shot if his life depended on it, but it was obvious the offense was responding best to his presence out there. Also completely destroyed Miami’s backcourt and almost singlehandedly brought the team back. Excuse me, have to go clean up some drool.
James Young, SG9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5 +/-The fact that he’s being brought in late in games when the team is behind is both intriguing for his development and terrifying that it means there are no better options for shooting. Not sure which emotion I should be focusing on more right now.
Marcus Thornton, SG17 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -10 +/-Kind of had the opposite day of everyone else – good run in the first half, faded away to nothing in the second half.
Tayshaun Prince, SFDNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | +/-Just learned he has a hip flexor injury, which is why he didn’t play today. Bummer, he’d been playing exceptionally lately.
The ultra-slow starts are getting to be really boring. It’s nice that there was finally a spark after halftime, but this team is not talented enough to be constantly digging themselves out of holes. Not really sure what the cure is.
Before New Englanders settle in for a long evening of nail biting and chicken wings, they can tune in to watch the Celtics play host to the Heat Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm.
Boston lost the first of four match-ups against Miami back in December to the tune of a 100-84 Heat victory behind Luol Deng’s 23 points. Tyler Zeller led the Celtics with 22 points and 5 offensive rebounds.
The Heat will once again be without Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and could be without Deng. That leaves Hassan Whiteside to pick up the pieces. Let’s discuss.
Jared Sullinger, PF30 MIN | 4-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +2 +/-
Sully led the C’s with four assists, but that’s about it. Swiss cheese on defense against Montiejunas and took three bad three-pointers in the fourth. Got far too much burn in the fourth quarter overall.
Brandon Bass, PF33 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-8 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +1 +/-
Bass didn’t finish the game for Boston, which is weird because he was by far the most effective Celtic tonight. Scored a team-high 17 points and continued his good play as a starter.
Jae Crowder, SF28 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -8 +/-
Slow start for Jae, but he deserves a lot of credit for the defense he played on James Harden. As always, Crowder was more involved than his stat line would imply.
Avery Bradley, PG32 MIN | 3-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -1 +/-
AB missed all four of his three-point attempts but otherwise got out and ran, settled in on defense, and hit a few big shots. Not a great night overall, but Bradley was a big part of the big third quarter the Celtics defense put together.
Evan Turner, SG21 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -4 +/-
Not much out of Evan Turner tonight. Not very convincing defense to compliment his poor shooting. Maybe next time, ET.
Gerald Wallace, SF7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -9 +/-
A for effort, but seven boring minutes out of Gerald Wallace. It was a long first half for the C’s. Maybe an A is too high…
Tayshaun Prince, SF21 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -6 +/-
Taytay really did earn his A, and his defense is simply timeless. He put in a few big shots and his time with Boston has thus far been very successful. Good night for Prince in his first game at the Garden.
Tyler Zeller, C18 MIN | 2-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -3 +/-
Rough shooting night for Zeller, but a big night on the boards. Zeller grabbed four offensive rebounds in limited minutes off the bench. That being said, 2-8 from the field is a tough pill to swallow.
Marcus Smart, PG27 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -2 +/-
Smart was a real bother on defense, and he too deserves credit for the meager 9 points the Rockets scored in the third quarter. Smart’s still not a capable shooter, but considering he’s still just 20 years old, let’s praise the defense and ignore the FG% (for now).
Marcus Thornton, SG23 MIN | 6-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | 0 +/-
Two big threes from Thornton in the fourth and four on the night overall. Marcus is a little hot and cold off the bench as of late, and it was his sharp shooting that kept the Celtics competitive in the fourth.
My Dad and Step-mom were floored by how calm Stevens was throughout the game, and he deserves credit for the defensive schemes the Celtics put together. Something needs to be done about Boston’s slow starts in the last few games, but Stevens kept his team fighting until the end.
After going a tepid 3-3 on their road trip out West, the Celtics return to Boston to host the Rockets tonight at 7:30.
The C’s fell to Houston 104-90 in the second game of the season after a 37 point first quarter explosion by James Harden and company. Harden and his beard finished with 26 points and 8 boards for the Rockets.
Harden will need to once again play like the MVP he maybe is if the Rockets are to win tonight; Houston will be without center Dwight Howard for the game and potentially beyond.
The Celtics play four of their next five at the Garden, and adding some home cooking to the mix might help Boston turn their temperature up from lukewarm to regular warm or even hot. Lets discuss.
James Young has had a pretty benign road trip – 3 points on 1-5 shooting against Golden State and a scoreless 8 minutes against Minnesota last night, sandwiching a DNP-CD against Utah. Most casual fans would look at that, shrug their shoulders, and move onto other things. Watching the games has made it very clear, though, that he is nowhere near ready to play real NBA minutes consistently.
I wrote about his neat shooting form earlier in the year after his explosion against Charlotte. The slow, fluid nature reminds me a little of a more straight-on Paul Pierce (I said a little, settle down, purists). The fact that it’s already that clean, and that he’s already willing to take just about any open shot, speaks well for his future in the NBA.
The problem is that’s about all he has going for him right now, and while he’s willing and able, it’s still not consistent enough to be relied upon – 31% from deep as of this writing, just a hair above Jared Sullinger being force-fed. Every other part of his game is hard to watch.
Most of his issues come from a general lack of awareness of what’s happening on the court. Asking him to switch on any kind of rotation is too much, as evidenced by Golden State’s wings running by him with glee the other night for easy jumpers and offensive rebounds. His one-on-one defense is slightly better, but slightly better in this case means “facepalm-inducing” rather than “apocalyptic”. He knows how to body up on a smaller guy, but if they ever get by him, look out. Read the rest of this entry »
Evan Turner continues to be a pleasant surprise at point guard.
It may look like it, but that’s not a declarative statement. It’s a thought that’s floated in many Celtics fans heads. It’s a string of words Mike Gorman lets fly about every other broadcast. It’s an idea that pops up and just kinda hangs there like a bubble. It’s real, but how tangible is it?
Turner had assembled some impressive stat lines. In January alone, he had 29 points, five rebounds and six assists in Chicago; 10, 10 and six against the Clippers; and 19, seven and seven against Golden State. He’s a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none, which, on the spectrum of backhanded compliments, is pretty much the best one you can get. At the base level, Turner helps the Celtics in many areas—and on a team with guards that have trouble creating their own offense, Turner’s ability to penetrate and bang home a nifty little 14-foot jumper has real value. Read the rest of this entry »
Jared Sullinger, PF34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -22 +/- Sully was really overmatched tonight; he had no idea what to do with either Pekovic or Dieng. The Bass-Sullinger pairing is much better than other options offensively, but they won’t beat above average frontlines like Minesota unless they max out on energy, and they did not have it tonight.
Brandon Bass, PF22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -9 +/- Same as Sully, but Bass gets a bump for scaring the bejeezus out of me with those dunks in the second.
Jae Crowder, SF15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6 +/- Remember when Crowder was the steal of the Rondo trade? I still think he’ll be fine, but it’s been a pretty up-and-down stretch lately, with more down.
Avery Bradley, PG37 MIN | 5-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -17 +/- Linking to Tom’s notebook from earlier today because it accurately describes my feelings on Avery, except tonight the shots weren’t even falling. Some good defense and ball-hawking in the first half was a bit of a consolation prize.
Evan Turner, SG27 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/- Turner hasn’t looked quite right for a few games – still a bit sloppy tonight, and he got torched by every man he was assigned to tonight. Not sure if it’s fatigue or the hand woes.
Gerald Wallace, SF7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1 +/- The “veteran presence” magic wasn’t quite there tonight.
Tayshaun Prince, SF23 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +3 +/- Continues to be unbelievably efficient. I have not been displeased with any of Prince’s performances in green. Which means he’ll probably be gone in a week.
Tyler Zeller, C20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -2 +/- In general he was OK; Pekovic and Dieng are the sort of giants that he normally gets enveloped by, and tonight wasn’t as bad as usual. But it was still not great.
Phil Pressey, PG9 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3 +/- I was pondering a better grade for Pressey – he had some quality plays out there tonight, and he helped the C’s briefly get back into the game – and then I remembered the last couple of shots he took and how much they hurt my brain.
Marcus Smart, PG24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -6 +/- The only player whose performance genuinely excited me tonight. A couple of boneheaded mistakes and missed rotations as is currently the norm for him, but other than that a pretty solid “Here’s Your Rising Star Showcase For You, Dingbats” game for Smart.
Marcus Thornton, SG14 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -4 +/- I gotta say, the hot streaks have been few and far between for Marcus this year, but when he’s on he’s pretty fun to watch. Wish there were more 3′s, but what can you do.
James Young, SG8 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4 +/- Average rookie play. *shrug*
Find a new flavor of Gatorade for halftime, Brad. But .500 ball and some really encouraging signs of improvement is about all we can ask for. Also got a kick out of the full court press while down 11 with a minute to go. Teaching moments!
Tonight the Celtics finish their Western Conference road trip with a visit to the Target Center to face the Timberwolves. The Celtics defeated Minnesota 114-98 when the two met December 19th in Boston.
Last time around, Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves with 26 points while Kelly Olynyk dropped 21 for the C’s. Both will miss tonight’s game due to injuries, and Muhammad joins a long list of disabled Timberwolves that includes Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Robbie Hummel.
The Wolves come into tonight’s contest 22nd in points per game and dead last in points allowed. A win tonight is surely within reach and would make the Celtics 4-2 on their road trip. Here are a few other things to look out for:
Avery Bradley is making $8 million per year essentially to play really solid wing defense, so it’s surprising how often we get bogged down talking about his offense. Bradley was excellent on Sunday against Golden State, so why don’t we have a screenshot and video breakdown of how he affected Steph Curry and why that was so impactful on the game?
There are a lot of reasons, but one of the most pertinent is that Bradley could be worth so much more than $8 million per year if his offense catches up to his defense. Celtics fans would love to believe that Danny Ainge nabbed a big financial break with Bradley, so his offense frequently takes on a larger narrative than his defense.
Bradley isn’t a bad pull-up shooter. He’s hit 34 percent of his pull-up jumpers this season, below average for a high-volume guy, but not disastrously so. There are just games when it feels like the long pull-up 2-pointer is the only off-the-bounce weapon Bradley trusts. He has some clean driving lanes coming off a screen, but he rarely takes them, short-circuiting chances to knife into the teeth of the defense.
Jared Sullinger, PF27 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | +12 +/- Uninteresting stat-line, but held his own against one of the toughest front-lines in the league. Great defensive rotations, some heady passes off the pick’n'roll, etc. Glad to see some consistency from Sully over this recent stretch.
Brandon Bass, PF25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -21 +/- Death, taxes, and an efficient serving of points and boards for Bass. Some things just happen.
Jae Crowder, SF16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -5 +/- Crowder played really good defense on Hayward in the first half. It was interesting to see him get the hook so quickly in the second, but things were going south in a hurry so I guess I can’t be that picky.
Avery Bradley, PG29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +4 +/- A lot of B-’s so far, but that’s what happens when you play wonderful and terrible for equal amounts of time. Second iffy shooting night in a row for AB, which is too bad. His defense continues to return to normal after a slow start to the year, and he held Exum in check all night.
Evan Turner, SG21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +2 +/- Wayyyyyyy too many sloppy plays from Turner in the first quarter, and the injury/re-aggravation of his hand injury didn’t help his cause. Just looked off tonight.
Gerald Wallace, SF14 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +10 +/- He was one of the primary catalysts for the defense that forced all those second quarter turnovers. I hope the young guys are watching him work professionally after all this time on the bench; he’s setting a great example.
Tayshaun Prince, SF30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +16 +/- Has Prince made a poor decision since he’s arrived in Boston (other than not forcing a buyout har har har)? If he has, I can’t remember it. Pretty flawless game all around tonight.
Tyler Zeller, C29 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +15 +/- Thrilled with the output, but Tyler has yet to show he can handle any semi-talented big on defense. For someone who plays center, this seems like it might be an issue going forward.
Marcus Smart, PG29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +7 +/- First half: B+/A-, great off-ball playmaking, spot-on defense. Second half: D+/C-, struggled to run the offense, gambled/helped too much on defense.Hedging it and moving on, glad to have him back.
Marcus Thornton, SG19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +5 +/- First half: D+/C-, nonexistent Second half: B+/A-, sparked the fourth quarter run that put the lead at a safer distance.Again, hedging it and moving on, although it was nice to see him have a good run of consecutive offensive plays in the 4th.
Third quarter was abysmal, but this team is showing improvement here and there every night, and going 3-1 in a 4-in-5 on a Western Conference swing is pretty stellar. Also, this team is STILL within reach of the playoffs. Who would’ve thought that after the Rondo trade?