I’m giving the Celtics an “A” for effort.
They played well for the majority of the game and for awhile it looked like Phoenix would succumb to their own poor shooting — not that Boston’s shooting was any better, 30% from the field while Phoenix shot 42% but was horrendous from 3. In the end, talent prevailed. Goran Dragic and Eric Bledose combined for 37 points, 8 assists,and 13 rebounds. The transition game was there all night and Phoenix outscored Boston 24-16, and did some major damage in the paint with 52 points.
Onto the positives. Avery Bradley came off the bench and scored nine points, played some solid defense and looked like the Avery Bradley we’ve come to expect by now. I’m not sure how much longer Stevens will keep him on the bench, but it’s a good idea seeing as how he’s had absolutely no practice or gametime in over a month. As I said in the preview, it’ll take a few games to adjust.
Kris Humphries continues to be a steady contributor. He put up a solid 11 point, 13 rebound performance and has really become one of my favorite Celtics this season. Wouldn’t mind to see him return next year for the right price. There have been so few consistent contributors on this team this year that it makes it easier to appreciate the effort someone like Humphries consistently shows.
Speaking of consistency, Jeff Green had a not-so surprisingly terrible night. 2-14 from the floor with just 4 free throw attempts. Have we arrived at the point where we can stop asking why Jeff is so inconsistent? I think we have, and I think we kind of realize how bad his contract looks right now.
Rondo’s night wasn’t really that great either, but his competition tonight was pretty tough. Just 4-15 from the field, 5 assists, and a couple turnovers. Not horrendous, but not great either.
We’re at a strange point in the season which I’m not very used to. Playoffs are next to impossible — I’m not sure if they’re mathematically eliminated already but I’d be surprised if they weren’t — and it looks like the only goal right now is to try to get as high a lottery pick as they can. Now I can assure you that Brad Stevens does not have that in mind and neither do any of the players but in reality that’s what the front office and ownership are hoping for. This game was a perfect example of how a bad team loses. If it wasn’t evident that this team doesn’t even really need to “tank” to lose then it should be now. The Celtics have proven that you can still try extremely hard, but in the end still lose.