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Jordan Crawford: Hero of the night. (Photo credit: Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)
Tonight's game hasn't started yet, so it's still OK to hand out grades for last night's game, right? Will you still read them and disagree with me? Thank you :)

OK, let me start with the obvious and grade the Cavaliers first: F!(note: imagine that I typed that F in gigantic Comic Sans font, you know, that's how Gilbert rolls. Holy shit, how do you turn an injury-laden team with otherwise great potential to this clusterfuck? Just how incompetent are the Cavaliers? Seriously, the only thing that's going right for them is Kyrie Irving. Hell, at one point Varejao looked better bringing the ball up and running offense than any other Cav on the court. Wow. Are they secretly tanking? Is that why they drafted Bennett and re-signed a colossal failure in Mike Brown? Are they just really smart con artists? Please someone explain that to me.

Alright, now that I got that out of my chest I can grade our team. What a night for them! The Eastern Conference sucks so much that we might actually qualify for the Playoffs. :/

Starters:

Jordan Crawford: A

Stat line: 11 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 2 TOs, +24 +/-, ~10k "holy shit Crawford had a triple-double?!" exclamations.

Wow. I mean, Crawford had some bad shot selections last night, but the guy had a triple double and led the team in +/- ratings. You know, this Jordan Crawford. He started the game with an ankle-breaker to score a mid-range shot, followed that up with two alley-oop passes in Q1 and then had an awesome dish to Humphries to top everything off. The team was on board with him trying to clinch that triple-double, and everyone enjoyed it. Someone pinch me.

Avery Bradley: A-

Stat line: 21 points (9-11 shooting, 3-4 3pts), 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 TO.

Bradley just wouldn't miss last night. In the past I complained that his 3pt shooting was inconsistent, but boy was he on fire last night. What I especially liked was this one play in the second quarter when he penetrated and converted a tough layup when the Celtics looked like they couldn't score and the Cavs could attempt a comeback. So why A-? Well, his ball handling still tends to get lazy from time to time and some of his passes are really forced. One could also nitpick about Irving's easy penetration all night long, but then again limiting Irving to 17 points on 7-16 shooting is no easy task anyway.

Jeff Green: A

Stat line: 31 points (10-19 shooting), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 TOs.

How does Green get an A with 4 TOs, you might ask. Green was everything he was asked to be last night: Aggressive, crashing the boards now and then and taking responsibility for scoring. At one point he missed a reverse dunk, but got the offensive rebound anyway and dished the ball. If he can be this offensive firepower on a consistent basis and still pull 5 rebounds on the side, he will earn every penny of that contract.

Brandon Bass: A

Stat line: 12 points (5-8 shooting), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 TO.

Am I giving out too many As? Yeah, maybe. But Bass was the perfect power forward last night. His defense is getting better and better, he's blocking shots, he's leading the unit, he's making his bread-and-butter shots... What else do you want from him? Oh, and "no pass Bass" had 4 dishes last night. I could still give him an A-, but then his clutch 3 pointer at the end of the 3rd quarter sealed the deal. Bass was perfect last night.

Jared Sullinger: A-

Stat line: 12 points (0-4 2pts, 4-5 3pts), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls.

Sully had to defend against Bynum last night, and yes, I know that Bynum has been a shell of his former self this season, but still that's no easy task and Sully passed the test easily. His basketball IQ was praised often last season, and he showcased that with 2 assists to begin the game. What I most liked though (and Stevens deserves credit for that as well) was his 3 point attempts; he never shied away from them and shot them with great confidence when he realized that he couldn't score from inside and had to stretch the floor. That was just amazing to watch. Sully is proving that he will be the centerpiece of the future Celtics.

Bench:

Vitor Faverani: B+

Stat line: 6 points (2-7 shooting), 9 rebounds, 5 fouls, 2 blocks, 1 steal.

That wasn't Vitor's best performance out there last night, but his stat line is still quite impressive. He lost his step a couple of times against Varejao, but he makes up for what he lacks in athleticism with his hustle play and energy. He gets an extra point for knocking down Wallace while trying to get the rebound last night too! Vitor has been a great find so far by Ainge.

Gerald Wallace: C-

Stat line: 1 point, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 TOs, 1 block.

If you haven't read Dyer's piece about Wallace, do so. This guy is just, I mean, how do you grade him? This is a scene from Q3: Wallace strips the ball nicely, then turns it over on a 3-on-2 transition play with a really lazy pass, but then runs back and gets the rebound and gives a great outlet pass which turns into an pass-to-assist for Green. Oh, and this scene from the 4th quarter: Wallace saves the ball only to commit an easy backcourt violation, so he goes and blocks Varejao in the ensuing Cleveland offense but then loses the ball in the next possession. Does he care about basketball? Where is his head at? Just, what is he trying to do? I have no clue. He's having a really weird season so far.

Phil Pressey: C+

Stat line: 15 minutes, 1 rebound, 1 steal, -8 +/-.

I mean, I like Pressey's energy and his defense is impressive for an undrafted rookie, but he needs to take more initiative on offense: He has to either improve his shot or try and dish the ball more. A -8 rating and basically no standing out statistical info in 15 minutes is not good. Why C+? Well, he at least doesn't make any mistakes out there.

Kris Humphries: B+

Stat line: 9 points (4-6 shooting), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 TOs.

The grade might be too much for his stat line, but Humphries really impressed me last night. I've always admired him go out and fight when he gets the opportunity, but his basketball IQ really shows sometimes. He had a very good dish to Green in the final quarter, his spin move turned into an and-one, and if the team is stuck he finishes offenses effectively with his mid-range shot. I hope that we can turn him into something come trade deadline.

Keith Bogans: D

Stat line: 8 minutes, 1 rebound, 1 foul, 1 TO.

I don't expect him to impress me with his stat line, but Bogans passed on some 3 pt shots last nights and just looked disengaged from the game. He played because Lee was injured, but I believe that Brooks deserves more of a chance than he does.

Marshon Brooks: N/A

Coach:

Brad Stevens: A-

Yes, the Cavaliers suck. Nonetheless, the Celtics have often struggled against the Cavaliers even in the post-LeBron era but the team was firing on all cylinders last night. Fast passes, fluid play, solid defense (except for Irving, but hey, you can't have your cake and eat it too)... I love how he encourages the bigs to shoot the 3-ball and focuses on the corner 3s a la San Antonio Spurs. He tried a small lineup to close the first half and it worked, he also tried to make Bradley run the offense in Q3 and realized that was a mistake in under less than a minute. I really respect this guy. So why A-, you might ask? Well, because the Celtics are playing too well, you know what I'm saying?
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semioticus (shelbyl) 11/30/2013 07:13:00 PM Edit
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