Few things are worse than seeing your favorite team get blown out by a bad team, and unfortunately, there are few good teams in the NBA as capable of allowing that to happen as the Celtics. Want a recipe for disaster? Pit the Celtics against the Bobcats and subliminally tell them that the game doesn’t matter (by letting your captain rest, for instance).
Fortunately, after getting blown out by Charlotte last night, the Celtics were up to the task against the Toronto Raptors, using a big 3rd quarter run to blow the game wide open and cruising to a solid win.
Those of us who were still smarting from last night can take solace in a lot of positives, so let’s get to the bullets.
- After a couple of regression to the Green games, Jeff Green was good tonight, scoring 20 points on 7-14 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. Single-game plus/minus stats don’t mean much for individual players, but Green led the Celtics tonight with an excellent +23 for the evening.
- With a basket in the paint in the second quarter, Kevin Garnett moved into 15th in the NBA’s all-time scoring list. A nice accomplishment for KG, who seemed to find his shot a bit tonight, going 5-8 from the field.
- Avery Bradley’s defense on Toronto’s point guards in the third quarter was borderline disrespectful. It flustered Kyle Lowry so badly that he had to be taken out of the game, and Sebastian Telfair picked up a pair of technicals for arguing calls as well. Bradley was just 2-7 for five points, but tonight was another example of how significantly he can affect a game without scoring.
- Paul Pierce went to the line 11 times. It’s safe to say he was aggressive in his return to action.
- I don’t mean to rag on the poor guy, but is anyone in the league as inefficient as Rudy Gay? League-wide observers may recall his putrid performance against the Lakers a little over a week ago, and he was little better today, scoring 19 points on 7-19 shooting. I’m not sure what it would take to get Rudy to chill out on the whole shooting thing, but Rudy needs to chill out on the whole shooting thing.
- Besides Courtney Lee, no Celtics starter played more than 28 minutes, and Pierce and Garnett played 24 and 20 respectively.
- The Raptors were 3-13 from 3-point range. Terrence Ross was particularly bad, shooting just 1-5 from behind the arc, including a bad airball that got the Garden crowd chanting. Incidentally, can we make it a rule that we never chant “airball” at rookies? Just feels like a little bit much. Unless it’s a Laker rookie, then all bets are off.
We will have plenty more tomorrow and in the days to come as the Celtics gear up for a bitter rivalry match-up against Charlotte on Saturday. Until then, enjoy a nice win and the return of something resembling the status quo.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.