After every game, we'll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player's overall value.
Rajon Rondo: I've taken to a daily accounting of the points Rondo was directly responsible for the previous night. Against Atlanta, his 20 assists led 42 points. Tack on the 10 he scored and Rondo was directly involved in 52 of the Celtics 88 points. I can excuse a tough shooting night for this.
Brandon Bass: If Rondo didn't have a 20-assist triple double, I'd call Bass the MVP of last night's game. Hell, even now I'm still thinking I should because he carried the scoring load early, and he provided energy when some of the other guys didn't have it. He put up his 2nd 20 point/10 rebound game for the Celtics last night (the other was opening night vs. NY). By the way, his two 20/10 games for Boston are the only two of his career.
Avery Bradley: He hit another 3 from (almost) the corner, making that distance a bit more reliable for him every day. Other than that, decent day for Bradley but nothing spectacular.. which makes me just think he's a little more reliant on others to be good so he can be good than I might have thought. Not a knock on Bradley, though… just an observation.
Mickael Pietrus: Everyone was shocked that he was playing. And not only did he play, he hit some huge shots, grabbed 6 rebounds, and was driving aggressively to the hole without fear. Just amazing and wonderful to see.
Greg Stiemsma: I swear the refs have it out for this kid sometimes. The more accurate assessment, though, is refs make certain assumptions, and he hasn't earned their assumptions. Right or wrong, that's how officiating works right now. Meanwhile, he was rebounding well (a weak spot for him all year) and he hit open shots. If he was allowed to actually play ball, he'd have had a bigger impact.
Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Ryan Hollins, E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson: Dooling got a few minutes out of necessity, but he's fallen out of Doc's new rotation despite some decent play recently. However, I full expect Doc to rest guys in this 3-in-a-row stretch, so these guys have to be ready.
Doc Rivers: Pre-game, Doc said he'd only play Pietrus 5 or 10 minutes. 29 minutes later, Pietrus was a key contributor for the Celtics in a hard-fought battle. I think Doc's coaching and handling of players, especially recently, has been as good as the play on the floor.
A huge win for the C's who had every excuse in the book to not win this. Maybe a month or two ago, they wouldn't have. Now they are in a tie with Atlanta and Orlando going into the last few games of the season.
The Celtics have every reason to be proud of that win last night. It may have been just as impressive as the Miami win, but for a bunch of different reasons. I, for one, am impressed.