Boston Celtics fans, were you as hopping mad as I was for most of last night’s game between the Celts and the New York Knicks? The
Celtics really blew some opportunities to push their lead to over 20 points in the first half, then allowed the Knicks to mount a comeback and take a lead, before finally pulling their butts out of the fire and stealing a win. I’ll take it, but that game should never have been that close.
Having said that, here are my three stars from last night’s action.
Honorable mention: Vitor Faverani
His final numbers are not gang-busters, but Vitor provided some huge minutes off of the bench, and hit a couple of big time shots during Boston’s fourth-quarter comeback. Overall, Faverani was +11 on the evening, part of a huge effort from the Celtics’ bench.
Third Star: Courtney Lee
Lee was a monster off of the bench in the first half, nailing all four of his shots, including three from deep, to score 14 in the half. He wound up with 18 for the night, which means he was not much of a factor in the second half comeback, but the last time I checked they play 48 minutes in the NBA, so staking your team to a lead in the first half is pretty important.
Second Star: Jared Sullinger
Like Lee, Sully didn’t have much of an impact on the game during the fourth quarter. Still, he did lead the Celtics with 19 points, 17 of which came during the first half when Boston opened up a 17 point lead. Sully was money during the game’s first two quarters, shooting 5 of 7 from the field and hitting 7 free throws. He wasn’t the reason the Celtics regrouped long enough to save a victory during the fourth quarter, but he was key in forcing the Knicks to expend a ton of energy digging out of that first-half deficit. And I can’t ignore the fact that Sully had a +/- of 0, making him the only Celtics starter not in negative territory on the night.
First Star: Avery Bradley
Did he score the most points? Nope. But he made a number of huge buckets, including the 3-pointer that gave Boston its first lead of the fourth quarter. Bradley finished with 13 points, none bigger than his final three. Never underestimate a clutch shot when a team is on the brink of pulling off a big comeback; if Bradley had missed that shot, the Knicks might have scored, deflating the Celtics and putting an end to the comeback. A big money shot gets Avery Bradley the big money in my book!