After every game, we’ll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player’s overall value.
Like I said last night, The Wolves ran the same play 3 or 4 times in a row… a pick and roll with Ridnour… because Rondo got burned on it just about every time. We’ve got to face facts that Rondo is just not going to be a tenacious on-ball defender every game. He plays 40+ minutes a game, and a lot of that effort is expended trying to run the offense. Last night, he did that very well (minus a stretch in the second quarter, where everyone was just trying to throw touchdown passes, and as Mike Gorman noted, were about as successful as Mark Sanchez at it).
Rondo was 3-3 from 16-23 feet… continuing the story line this season that he can, in fact, shoot the ball. I’ll add to that a little tidbit that Jay emailed me earlier:
Ranking PG’s who play at least 15+ mpg, FG% from 16-23 feet, Rondo ranks 6th overall (tied with 2 other guys) at 49%. Players he’s ahead of: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook… the only players ranked ahead (or tied with) of him: Aaron Brooks, Beno Udrih, Grievis Vasquez, Jeremy Pargo, Luke Ridnour, Jarrett Jack, Shaun Livingston, Brian Roberts (tied), Kyrie Irving (tied).Out of all of those players, only Ridnour (49) have more attempts from that range (Rondo has 47).
I can continue everyone’s gushing about KG from last night… but I’d rather just highlight an under-the-radar play caught by Paul Flannery for an excellent piece on SB Nation.
Kevin Love had the ball outside the three-point arc with Garnett defending. Love surveyed the scene. There was no one open. Garnett was up tight with a hand extended in Love’s face, but not so far as to leave himself exposed if Love decided to put the ball on the ground and drive baseline. He was in textbook defensive position, coiled and ready for whatever.
Love hesitated for just a moment and Garnett pounced, knocking the ball from his hands and then quickly scooping it up and getting it to a guard to start the break. Love stayed there for a split second while Garnett seized the opening and sprinted to the opposite baseline where the Minnesota defense recovered to pick him up. Garnett never saw the ball, but he had done his job. With the defense sagging in the paint, Jason Terry knocked down a three-pointer, pushing the lead to 15 and essentially putting the game out of reach.
Pierce shot 40% last night, and it continues a tough month for Paul, who’s field goal percentage is at its lowest point of the KG era. But let’s not freak out about it, ok? He’s had 176 games where he shot 40% or worse in the KG era. Pierce will go through slumps from time to time… so I’m going to give him some time to right himself before I write his eulogy. Trust me, I don’t think that will be written this season.
He turned around an average-at-best performance with a spectacular second half. He was a major reason why the Celtics performed so well after halftime.
That shooting stroke looks great, and he’s hustling to find his way into gaps in transition to get himself easy chances to score. Terry’s ability to put the ball to the floor and create some space for himself to take a mid-range jumper is a nice sight. I feel like Minnesota missed a few early chances to pick on Terry lagging behind after picks, though.
From Zach Lowe’s most recent Grantland piece:
Jeff Green is barely playing power forward anymore, and in news that is probably related, he has looked like a useful NBA player for three straight games.
He’s slowly putting it together. I’ve said for a long time that Green should primarily play the 3, and it’s finally working out that way for him.
I will say this for him, though…. he should probably stick to catching alley oops, rather than throwing them.
He did a decent job last night. I’m shocked that he wasn’t ready for a Rajon Rondo alley oop. Neither aspect of his game was particularly outstanding, but the whole was greater than the sum of its parts last night.
A step backward after a couple of games where he looked like he was going to find his way. He’s going to have to figure out how to play in this role off the bench… or else.
I love this kid. He busted his ass last night. I see some of the comments you guys are making about this kid not being an All Star in the future, and it blows my mind. How anyone can say that after this kid figure out how to contribute in varying roles, along side various teammates, in only 18 games is as encouraging a sign as you’ll ever see.
I don’t know if he’ll be an All Star… but I do know you can’t dismiss the possibility. Pay attention to him out there, and you’ll see a very good NBA career starting to sprout.
Did you realize that Doc was able to keep Pierce and KG down to about 25-26 minutes each? That’s big.
The Celtics held their own on the boards against the league’s best rebounder and a bunch of other guys who can get after the boards as well. They had one bad stretch in the second quarter, but they picked it up in the second half to FINALLY close out an opponent. Yes, Minnesota helped by missing a ton of free throws, but I liked the contributions especially from the bench in key spots. The Celtics extended a third quarter lead with KG on the bench, which meant he could come in and help drive the final dagger into the TWolves.