Rondo sealed the deal with a wide open layup to put the Celtics up five late in overtime, and a few free-throws later the Celtics emerged victorious. After the encouraging win over OKC tonight I was braced for a letdown (and boy did the Celtics deliver), but at least the C’s still managed to come out with the win. Let’s get to the bullet points:
- Brandon Bass should get the game ball tonight. While Bass wasn’t particularly efficient, scoring 13 points on 14 shots, his effort and energy down the stretch was key in the Celtics win. Bass had 12 rebounds (five offensive) while battling in the paint and fighting for lose balls. He even had a pair of clutch free-throw’s to seal the game in its final moments, and while his games have been a bit uneven this season, you can’t deny his impact and involvement.
- And since we mentioned offensive boards, the Celtics had 17 of them tonight. I’m sure none of them mattered and they certainly didn’t result in any second chance points. The Celtics finished with 51 boards total, proving that they can rebound against size-deprived Orlando, if nothing else.
- Rondo stretched his assist streak to 37 games, tying Stockton for the second most all time. There was a bizarre play late in the game where Rondo passed up a layup on the break and handed the ball off to Bass who was promptly blocked by Afflalo. Detractors will say Rondo was padding his stat-line (though Rondo already had his 10 assists), while an optimist might argue Rondo was just rewarding his teammate for running the floor. I don’t care what Rondo was doing, it was stupid. There is no good reason to ever pass up an easy two points in that situation, and Rondo was fortunate that Terry bailed him out. Rondo’s next assist-streak milestone will come on Christmas when he’ll have the opportunity to pass Magic.
- Jason Terry had a very pedestrian five points on 2-6 shooting but had a number of clutch steals, jumping into passing lanes and swatting at the ball. Terry’s gambling defense will fit very well alongside Bradley once he returns, and it’s encouraging that he was able to contribute in a game when his shot wasn’t falling.
- Jeff Green continues to be up and down and finished with one point on 0-9 shooting, disappointing after the excellent game he put together against the Thunder. There were multiple occasions where Green was too unselfish, but it’s hard to get too down on a guy for trying to be a team player. Don’t get me wrong, this game was pretty awful, but I’ve accepted that Jeff Green will be up and down this season. I just hope he’ll continue to trend upward as the season progresses. He did have a pretty sweet block though.
- Remember how not too long ago Rondo was using all the possessions during crunch time? Not so tonight, where the 4th quarter ended up with a dreadful Pierce isolation that bounced off the rim and sent us to overtime. I know Pierce is an incredibly clutch player, but when you’re being guarded by the opposing teams best individual defender perhaps there’s a better play you could run. Let’s hope this is an isolated (hahaha) incident and not a trend.
Lose to Detroit, win against OKC, escape Orlando in OT; this team is all over the place. The Celtics’ ceiling is very high, but they continue to play down to the competition and drag out games that should be easy wins. In encouraging news the Celtics defense held the Magic to 46% shooting tonight (in the three games prior to this Celtics opponents averaged 53% shooting), though that may have had more to do with poor shot selection by Orlando (Glen Davis took a 3…) than anything the Celtics did. The C’s have a few days off before Wednesday when they face the Nets at home in the Garden.
Follow Jordan on Twitter: @OffensiveG