|Kevin Garnett and the Celtics beat the Hawks 89-81|
Kevin Garnett: Another consistent performance from him. Scored efficiently, rebounded (just a bit), and played his normal great defense. Not much bad except for a couple lazy turnovers in the first half. Good game.
Brandon Bass: His return to the starting lineup seems to have given him new life. He rediscovered his jumper tonight, and basically closed out the Hawks in the fourth with a couple of timely midrange jumpshots. Rebounded decently, although he still is not quite at the level we would want him to be. A great sign: He continued his excellent defensive play from yesterday, with another solid effort doing his best guarding the rim. His arrow is pointing up.
Paul Pierce: He really loves playing the Hawks huh? He had an offensive explosion in the third and spearheaded the effort to get back into the game. The best thing was that, along with his scoring, he helped out on the boards and continues to show off his passing. I vote him for player of the game.
Rajon Rondo: After a lackluster first half, he really turned it on in the second. He stuffed the stat-sheet tonight: the game high in rebounds (11), the game high in assists (10), and a triple-double to top it all off. Really showed his comfort level with his midrange jumper, and looked to be aggressive in the fourth. Played some poor defense and made some bad decisions early on, but he really bounced back.
Avery Bradley: I feel like I am writing the same thing every game. Excellent hustle as always, you can see that the Celtics are playing with a little more energy with him back. His shot is still off, but he keeps shooting good shots that will fall eventually. When he gets his shot back, the Bradley midrange will be a thing we see often. His defense did not look up to his usual high standards tonight, but I think we can all give him a break once in a while.
Jared Sullinger: Really liked what he did tonight. He gave us the usual great rebounding, but he also really picked his spots on offense to maximize his effectiveness. Instead of just going 1 on 1 against Atlanta's bigs, he scored off of open midrange jumpers, putbacks, and other hustle plays. And hey, only 3 fouls tonight!
Jeff Green: I hate grading Jeff Green. I have to be fair and give him a low one but I feel so bad for doing it. He had another invisible game tonight, as I legitimately cannot remember him doing anything. The only thing he really did was mess up an easy alley-oop by holding on to the rim for like a minute after the shot. Poor Jeff.
Jason Collins: He came, he saw, he scored. Then went back to the bench for the remaining 44 minutes.
Courtney Lee: Played little tonight, but did well in his time on the floor. Doc just chose to go with Terry over him. Not much to see here.
Jason Terry: He has been a disappointment offensively over the last few games, and was the same tonight. Got some clean looks which he just could not knock down. What I liked though was his defense. Terry is usually one of the worst defenders on the team, but tonight he applied good ball-pressure and did not totally get lost on rotations. I like his effort, but he needs to give us more offensively.
Conclusion: After getting blown out by the Hawks in the first half, the Celtics came back to win the game. The Celtics really turned up the defense in the second half, and have now put together two good defensive efforts in a row. This also overlaps with a two-game winning streak. Coincidence? I think not. While the victory was nice, the struggles in the first half were legitimate. This team has a lot of building to do. But it is going in the right direction. The Celtics will try to continue their winning ways on Monday, when they take on the New York Knicks at MSG. Hopefully they can beat them to close the gap on the division leader, and also to send a message to the rest of the league: The Celtics are coming.
What did you think about the grades? Sound off in the comments!
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