Avery Bradley is a special defender.
We all knew this. We knew that he makes life hell for opposing guards. We knew that he is a big difference between the Celtics being mediocre and being a solid playoff team.
But man. What a difference a defender makes against an elite offensive threat like Stephen Curry. After busting off 54 points against the Knicks (and very mediocre defender Ray Felton) on 11-13 shooting from 3-point range, Curry was held to 25 points on 6-22 shooting, and most of his points came in the fourth quarter when Boston was up double digits. In the first quarter, Curry scored just one point on one field goal attempt, as Bradley harassed him and severely limited his effectiveness.
I’ll keep this fairly brief, and we’ll have plenty more tomorrow as we head into another lengthy break in between games. But here are some bullet points:
- We mentioned Bradley, but Boston’s defense was tough as a collective group tonight. The Warriors shot just 34% from the field and 22% from 3-point range.
- Offensively, small forwards dominated the game for Boston. Paul Pierce, clearly playing through some pain in his neck, dropped 26 points on 15 shots and was aggressive for most of the evening, getting to the free throw line 11 times. Jeff Green, for his part, scored 18 points on 8-13 shooting. Green missed all three of his 3-point attempts, but he hit several big shots after coming back from what appeared to be a painful fall, landing hard on his wrist. It was great to see Green knocking down shots after a couple of tough nights. Green and Pierce were also the only Celtics who scored in double figures.
- The Celtics struggled on the glass tonight. David Lee finished with 19 rebounds, including five offensive, while Golden State won the battle overall 55-45 (and the Celtics finished with just two offensive). On the plus side: KG grabbed 13 defensive rebounds and Paul Pierce finished with eight.
- Eight points and seven rebounds from Chris Wilcox, which are very solid numbers for him.
- The Celtics continue to be far and away most effective at home. At TD Banknorth, the C’s are 21-9. On the road, they are 10-18.
- Jordan Crawford played 17 minutes, and he ran the show surprisingly effectively. He hit two tough baskets, but he moved the ball around quite a bit and seemed interested in making the right play. There was also one very nice moment in the fourth when Jeff Green went down and Crawford ran over to help him up. KG gave him dap in the form of a slap to the back of the head.
- Terrence Williams, on the other hand, got just one minute. DJ White and Shavlik Randolph both got DNP-CDs which makes some sense, especially for Randolph who was understandably jet-lagged. There’s just not a lot of playing time available for Williams at the guard positions.
- Boston turned the ball over 17 times, but those turnovers were a result of the higher pace transition game. It’s a trade-off, and not necessarily a bad one.
Plenty more tomorrow, but for tonight, enjoy a solid win against a good team.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.