After every game, we'll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player's overall value.
Rajon Rondo: Another 15 assists. And yes, he sometimes gets a little too casual out there. I'll take the bad with the good as this guy continues to set up his teammates. His assists led to 32 points, and he added another 7. So he accounted for almost 40% of the offense. I'm cool with that.
Paul Pierce: He was carrying the C's early, keeping the C's in the game in the first quarter until KG could take over in the second and Philly could wither away and die. Pierce and KG are playing their best ball of the season.
Kevin Garnett: KG had one of my favorite KG performances of the season. A: He was aggressive, making a couple of bull-runs to the hoop that we haven't seen this season. B: He was crazy. When he misfired a pass past Avery Bradley under the hoop, he pounded himself on the head, put both hands up towards the bench in an apologetic motion, and then yapped at himself the rest of the way down the floor. C: He was goofy, enjoying the hell out of Gino on the bench. It was everything awesome about KG all at the same time.
Avery Bradley: He's getting more comfortable in his role and showing more confidence in his abilities out there. Two things highlighted that for me: His 3 in the corner that he took without hesitation when Rondo got him the ball, and a crossover to get himself free for a baseline jumper later in the game. I am highly impressed with Bradley's development this season. He has grown significantly as a player.
Brandon Bass: At one point, the combination of Bass, Garnett and Pierce trailed the entire Sixers team by just 4 points. Bass shot 8-10 and played a very nice complimentary game to the rest of the starters.
Ray Allen: Like Bradley, he's getting used to his new role. I'm not sure how much he really likes coming off the bench, but he's going to grow into this role nicely. I think last night's game was a nice example of how the switch will work for Boston.
Sasha Pavlovic: I was going to give him this green arrow the moment I saw him come up with his chase-down block. Sasha is on a nice little roll right now and giving the Celtics productive minutes off the bench. He's hitting the open shots, defending, and generally playing mistake-free. Suddenly the Celtics have a guy who can spell Pierce for a few minutes while they wait for Mickael Pietrus to recover from his concussion.
Greg Stiemsma: I'll join the chorus: I feel bad for this kid and the calls he's getting. Like Chuck said last night, these refs are making assumptions sometimes and blowing the whistle on him thinking there's no way he could be making some of these plays cleanly. Welcome to the world of NBA officiating, where that's just the norm. That's why star players get calls… they've earned the assumptions of NBA refs. Stiemer's line shows 3 blocks, but he probably had 5 or 6. If the refs can finally open their eyes, the C's have themselves a human eraser back there that can key 2nd unit offense by blocking shots and starting breaks.
Ryan Hollins: Doc TRIED to get KG out for the whole 4th quarter, but Hollins just isn't quite ready for that much time, yet. Philly went on a little run with Hollins in the lineup. In that decimation of the Sixers, Hollins was a -5. Still, he's working hard and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. He just needs time.
Doc Rivers: The Bradley/Allen switch is really starting to take shape nicely. The substitution patterns have been damn near perfect, with the C's starting hot and suddenly pulling away in 2nd quarters. That's a complete 180 from just a month ago, showing Doc's (and his staff's) ability to make the necessary tough decisions and adjustments to correct problems.
This win felt good, and not just for the revenge aspect. This win felt like a total team win with everyone doing their jobs, and doing their jobs well. From top to bottom, all of the rotation players did exactly what they were supposed to do. Rondo set guys up, Pierce & KG carried the team, Bradley slashed, Bass hit mid-range shots, Ray was the offensive spark off the bench, Stiemer was 2nd unit's fly-swatter and Pavlovic hit open shots.
The team, in general, defended well. And save for a few sloppy early plays, this was as satisfyingly solid a win I've seen this season. That it came against a Philly team that deserved some come-uppance for its past transgressions against the Celtics… and also put some distance between Boston and the Sixers… was gravy.