After every game, we’ll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player’s overall value.
Offense: 20 points on a very efficient 10-16 shooting. He hit 5 of 6 shots at the rim, and 5 of 8 from everywhere else inside the 3-point line. A few of his turnovers were sloppy, but a few of his passes were spectacular.
Defense: He played the passing lanes perfectly, and swooped in for 5 steals on the night. If you want to nitpick, he did get beat on a couple of pick-and-rolls, but that’d just be hater-speak who won’t settle for anything less but 48 minutes of perfection… which is just impossible.
Offense: Another off night overall for Pierce who started out hot, but then cooled off significantly. There was a moment early in the game where he was taking a heat-check shot. I think he got cold on the bench, sitting at 4:47 in the 3rd and not returning until 7:58. He missed 4 shots and got a 5th blocked after that. He did dish 5 dimes, though.
Offense: If I could bottle this game from Brandon Bass and get it every night, the Celtics will be a lot closer to the wining banner 18. Obviously, he’s not going to shoot 5 of 6 every night, but he was aggressive (leading to a team-high 6 free throws), he attacked the glass (2 offensive rebounds) and he even had 3 assists.
Defense: Bass continues to be underrated as an individual defender. He switched off onto smaller guys a few times last night, but he’s quick enough to generally prevent a drive and tall enough to prevent the shot. There’s no stat for forcing the guy to pass and continue to work the ball around the perimeter, but it’s important to note how Bass work to stop what might appear to be a mis-match for the offense.
Offense: His jumper is back… I think. He was 4-4 from 16-23 feet… but he was 1-5 from 3. I’m going to skew positive and just note that he shot 5-10 overall, and there’ s no way you can bash a jump shooter for shooting 50% from the field.
Offense: I really think Green was starting to build off that 4th quarter performance in Milwaukee until he turned his ankle. He returned, which is nice, but I’m sure his ankle was still bugging. With Green, you look for little signs of him getting it and being aggressive… and I saw a few of those. So I’m encouraged.
Offense: I struggled with Wilcox’s overall rating from last night. He played 19 minutes, many of them where he didn’t do a whole lot. But then I looked a little more closely and realized that he made a few simple little plays that led to points. He was a perfect 2-2 from the field and 3-3 from the line. He made the most of his opportunities.
Offense: I’m going to go slightly positive on Courtney Lee simply because he hit 2 of the 3 shots he took. I’m being admittedly generous here, but for a guy who has struggled with his shot so much so far… I’m looking for any sign of positivity I can find.
Offense: There was a stretch in the second quarter where the Bulls had cut the lead to single digits and were threatening to do more damage. It was 35-30 when Barbosa had a mini-takeover. He scored 6 of the Celtics next 8 points, and assisted on the other bucket, pushing the lead back up to 8 and keying what would be a 16-8 run. He wouldn’t score again, but this was a supremely important stretch that could have changed the entire complexion of the game. He gets the overall up vote just for that.
Offense: He only took 2 shots, but the one he made was a 3rd-quarter-ending 3 pointer. And he dished out 4 assists (one of them for a 3) in 13 minutes, which is a really nice surprise. For a guy whose time is limited and is basically not an option in the offense, to create 12 points for his team is really nice.
Doc saw a weakness, and went after it late in the game. Twice the Celtics ran plays that drew on the Bulls overreacting to Rajon Rondo’s penetration that had killed them all night. Twice it resulted in Kevin Garnett finishing an alley oop with a dunk.
He tried, it seems, to get through much of the second half without Paul Pierce. I think he was hoping the other scorers on the floor would hit enough baskets to get the C’s past the under-manned Bulls. In the end, he needed to re-insert Paul and, by then, he’d cooled off.
If you compare the Celtics to our pre-season expectations, this win was alright. If you compare the Celtics to their performance in the first few games, this win is an exciting sign about the future.
I’m going with the latter. The Celtics were quicker and more cohesive than they’ve been at any other point this season. Slowly, the guys are starting to figure things out. It helps that they didn’t have to deal with some pretty good players last night, but we’re going to take what we can get right now.