|A "D"! What did I do to deserve a D?? Well since you asked, Brandon..|
With that in mind, here are my grades for tonight's 95-88 loss to the Grizzlies. I actually thought the Celts played a really good first 40 minutes or so, and some of the grades reflect that.
Avery Bradley: C+
Stat line: 14 points, 3 assists, 1 steal, 6-12 FG
Bradley played probably his best game of the season so far vs. the Grizzlies, but unfortunately that's not saying much. He was outplayed by back-up Jordan Crawford, but also shot the ball effectively and helped hold Memphis' starting backcourt to 8-19 shooting. Unfortunately he also left Jerryd Bayless all alone for a crucial 4th quarter three. Bradley can build on this effort.
Jeff Green: B-
Stat line: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 6-12 FG, 9-12 FT
This was a B+ until the last minute, when two horrific three point attempts led to crucial empty possessions for the Celts. All in all, you've got to be happy with 22 points on 12 shots, and Green was super aggressive during the first half. 12 free throw attempts are a nice sight as well. But as this team blew a fourth, 4th quarter lead in as many games, the late game offense is again under the microscope. And Green was bad when it mattered most.
Gerald Wallace: C
Stat line: 0 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 0-0 FG
Wallace left the game in the 2nd half with a knee injury, so we'll have to see how that develops. But as for his play..it was weird. I'm starting to think Wallace was struck in the head this off-season and awoke with the thought that if you shoot the basketball, ever, you are selfish. If not I have no idea how a man plays 28 minutes without shooting the ball. He's also only shot the ball 16 times in 140 total minutes this season, a ridiculously low attempt rate. I hated his decision to pass the ball to Avery Bradley on the wing during a 3-on-2 break in the 3rd quarter, a possession that resulted in Bradley, a career 32% 3 PT shooter launching the least efficient shot in basketball. If Wallace is going to continue playing 35+ minutes a night, he needs to do better than 5.4 PPG and 4 FGA a game.
Brandon Bass: D
Stat line: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3-11 FG
Bass has been really solid on the whole this season, but he struggled big time tonight. 27% shooting from a big man is never good, and Bass had the added bonus of going against the Zach Randolph/Marc Gasol tandem on the other end. Neither of those guys exploded, but both had efficient games. Tonight was just not Bass' night on either end.
Vitor Faverani: C
Stat line: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 2-4 FG
A speed bump for the Vitor express tonight in Memphis as Faverani was pretty quiet in 28 minutes of action. It's never easy going head-to-head with Gasol/Randolph, and Vitor learned that first hand tonight. Faverani also was passed over by Jared Sullinger down the stretch, sitting for the last 5:06 of game time.
Kelly Olynyk: F
Stat line: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 1-8 FG
Ouch. I'm not going to overrate tonight's performance by Olynyk, who had a really tough match-up with Z-Bo/Gasol..but man, he was bad. 1-8 shooting with 4 turnovers and several poor defensive rotations in 24 forgettable minutes is not a great way to reward Brad Stevens for continuing to play him over Kris Humphries, who is quite clearly the better player right now. Then again, the Celtics were +7 with KO on the floor, and -14 when he sat..so what do I know?
Jordan Crawford: B+
Stat line: 12 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 4-7 FG
Jordan Crawford with the 2nd best grade on the team. I REPEAT JORDAN CRAWFORD WITH THE 2ND BEST GRADE ON THE TEAM!! Crawford was fantastic tonight for much of the game, hitting a few big shots and once again displaying really solid PG skills. He did take one terrible three-pointer late in the shot clock down the stretch, but was great on the whole. At some point I think Stevens needs to consider a Crawford-Bradley-Green-Sullinger-Vitor starting five, as J-Craw is clearly the best non-Rondo PG on this roster.
Jared Sullinger: A-
Stat line: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7-11 FG
If you're a Celtics fan you've got to feel good about Sully's performance tonight. He put up 16 points on 11 shots, grabbed 5 boards and the Cs were +12 in his 20 minutes of play. The only knock on him was foul trouble, as he picked up three quick fouls and had to sit out much of the 1st half. But this was his best effort of the season as he displayed a lot of the old school post skills that we saw last season. Plus he went 2-3 from deep. How? I have no god damn clue.
Courtney Lee: B+
Stat line: 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4-5 FG
Have yourself a night Celtics bench. Besides Olynyk, the Cs got great production from all three of their bench guys tonight - and Lee was no exception. He really looked the part of the "D-and-3" guard Danny Ainge thought he was getting last off-season, knocking down 4 of 5 shots and playing well defensively. He had a few silly turnovers, but in general was sharp. A lot of folks (me included) have been calling for MarShon Brooks, but Lee earned more playing time tonight.
Rajon Rondo: A+
I miss Rondo.
Brad Stevens: D or B+
If the goal is winning: D, I mean, if the goal is winning (and I'm not so sure it is)..what the hell is going on? Avery Bradley at PG? Still? Why on Earth isn't Crawford starting there at this point? All you're doing is hurting Bradley's confidence. And why isn't Hump playing at all? 8 points and 9 boards in 21 minutes in the opener and then he gets buried? What did he do wrong? Play too well? I don't get this. Also the end of game offense makes me long for the days of Paul Pierce fadeaway 24 footers that went in 16% of the time.
If the goal is losing: B+, If the goal is continuing to rack up ping pong balls and then unleash the real Stevens next year on the NBA..I dig it. Like in "White Men Can't Jump", Stevens is hustling his opponents. Making everyone think that he's overmatched and then BOOM, when things start counting he's unstoppable. At least that's what's happening in my head.
Ok, those are my grades. Tell me yours.
Photo courtesy: Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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