The Celtics are over .500 once again. I don’t think any of us expected this to be such an accomplishment before the season began, but here we are. And honestly, after holding the Suns to just 79 points on 39.3% shooting from the field, I think we can agree that it’s really really good to be back.
Let’s get to tonight’s bullet points:
- If we pretend getting the first bullet point in a winning recap is like getting the game ball from Celtics Town, then this one goes to Jeff Green. Sure, Jared Sullinger was more instrumental in the win, but one year removed from open heart surgery (!!!!!!) Jeff Green scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting and absolutely demolished the rim on several bone-crushing slams. His best was this one, as he put former Celtic Jermaine O’Neal on a poster with an aggressive finish.
- But if Green gets the game ball, Jared Sullinger gets the game’s MVP award because GOOD HEAVENS JARED SULLINGER CAN PLAY BASKETBALL. 12 points, 6-10 shooting, but infinitely more importantly, 16 rebounds including five offensive. It seemed like Sullinger’s offensive rebounds came at the exact right time, just when the offense was sputtering and needed another chance. Also: Sullinger rebounds like a Burmese python. He wraps the ball up against his massive body and squeezes the life out of any opponent’s feeble attempts to poke it away or steal it from him.
- We should note that the defensive rebounding was NOT there for the Celtics tonight, as they gave up 19 offensive rebounds to a very middle-of-the-pack rebounding team. Fortunately, you know, Jared Sullinger.
- It was a strange night offensively for the Celtics. The scoring came in bursts, sandwiched in between long stretches of offensive malaise. But the defense was more than up to the task, and when the Celtics needed baskets late to put away Phoenix, the offense and defense came through on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 10 and out of reach. More on those possessions tomorrow.
- From friends of Celtics Town @homecourtbias and @BrianAintLyin, tonight was the first time since March 17, 2010 against the Knicks that Rajon Rondo finished with no rebounds and no steals. It wasn’t really an impressive night for Rondo, just 8 points and eight assists, nor was it an impressive night any of the other starters. Kevin Garnett scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Paul Pierce scored just seven points on 3-10 shooting. Fortunately the bench more than made up for the starters’ lack of production.
- Avery Bradley hit a couple of jumpers early and seemed a little bit overconfident for the rest of the first half. But once again, we’ll forgive his confidence given his usual pressure defense. Also of note: With the bench producing, Bradley was able to take much of the night off. He recorded just 18 minutes.
- From Jeff Green’s post-game press conference: “I don’t cry. But it was… I’m just glad to be here, glad to be alive, glad to be playing basketball.” THAT’S FINE JEFF, BUT THE REST OF US ARE HAVING A LITTLE BIT OF TROUBLE WITH ALL OF THE DUST IN HERE. IT’S PRETTY DUSTY.
More on this game tomorrow. For tonight, enjoy Green cutting backdoor and Kevin Garnett playing point-center.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.