The Celtics broke out of the gates tonight like an Olympic sprinter on steroids. They decimated the Nuggets with a 14-0 run to start the game and a 39-15 lead after the first quarter. They needed a good chunk of that 24 point lead because Denver outscored them 83-67 the rest of the way. Too bad that still equals a 106-98 win for the Celtics. Jordan Crawford led five Celtics in double figures and Kris Humphries scored 18 off the bench.
The entire first quarter. All of it. So much fun. These guys had me cancelling my June vacation plans and scouting out hotels for a conference Finals series in Indy or Miami (not really, those tickets are non-refundable). But really, that first quarter was about as good as it gets.
Brad Stevens has brass balls. It’d be easy to say “Jared Sullinger has been our most consistently good player all season long, I’m going to go with that guy.” But Sullinger wasn’t having a great game. Kris Humphries was, and Stevens went with him for most of the 4th quarter. Is it a knock on Sullinger? Nope. Sully is a big key to this team. But is it proof that Stevens has no qualms about going with what works.
Humph off the bench has me bracing for the “why doesn’t he play more” tweets and comments. Tonight, he had it going. The thing with Humphries against a team like Denver is that he’s faster and more athletic than Sullinger is right now. Sully’s Dad even said it during the last game… Jared is carrying extra weight that helps him play center. If Sully’s going to be a 4 full time, then he’ll lose some pounds… but right now he’s got some extra padding and it helps against bigger guys. But Humph is quicker, and that helped tonight.
Slow Hoosiers clap for Jordan Crawford. I’m starting to wonder if, after 3 years, he’s finally found the coach that gets him. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering when the sand will run out of this hourglass. Maybe it won’t.
Is anyone better at the backdoor cut than Avery Bradley? The play for the 2-handed slam at the end of the first half was just….. sublime. I loved it. AB knew it was happening at least three seconds before it happened.
Brandon Bass, again, had an overlooked good game: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. That’s one hell of a game.
The first part of the third quarter was atrocious. The Celtics came out of the locker room like the game was over, and Denver laid an 18-4 run on them in less than 4 minutes. It happened that quickly.
It’s just more proof that this team needs to give 100% effort to be competitive. There’s no “flip the switch” mode on this team. If they’re off, they’re OFF.
Brotha Bass with the big block
Humph with the monster slam-and-1 (un-embeddable link)
- Jeff Green: 15 points (6-13 fg) 2 reb
- Avery Bradley: 18 points, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl.
This was actually, probably, a dream game for Brad Stevens. He got the win, which is always nice. But he also had PLENTY after the first quarter than he can bring up in film and practice.
The Celtics have tomorrow off, then it’s off to New York where they take on the Knicks. THAT should be an interesting game.