So this Jeff Green guy, am I right? He might not be too bad.
The Celtics gave up most of an 18-point lead tonight against the Pistons, but held on to win in unpleasantly dramatic fashion 98-93. The Pistons absolutely smashed the Celtics on the boards, ripping down 25 offensive rebounds to Boston’s 34 OVERALL. Greg Monroe was particularly beastly, securing 17 rebounds and eight offensive, while ex-UConn-ers Charlie Villanueva (ugh) and Andre Drummond both pitched in nine.
Fortunately for Boston, Jeff Green shook off a bad performance in Minnesota and came out firing, and I don’t mean firing like “he was taking a lot of shots,” but firing like “he has actual flames shooting out of his hands and ass.” On some nights, Green is efficient because he shoots solely layups, 3-pointers and free throws, the three most efficient shots in basketball. Other nights, he’s efficient because he’s hitting everything from everywhere, including mid-range. Tonight was one of those nights.
On to the bullets:
- Here’s something worth watching: Rajon Rondo participated in a shootaround pre-game and joked around with some Globetrotters. Rondo has an enormous brace on his leg, and he certainly isn’t jumping on his shots, but it’s still good just to see him on the court. An interesting note: Players who have torn their ACL’s sometimes come back as better shooters since A) They build the muscles around their knee, which gives them more lift on the jumper and B) They have nothing better to work on for the better part of nine months. Something to keep an eye on.
- The Celtics clinched their sixth consecutive playoff appearance tonight. Commence tanking/moving up theories as you wish.
- Since the Celtics were handing out second chance opportunities like a garage band hands out fliers, it’s a good thing the Pistons were stab-your-eye-out-with-a-gardening-tool awful from the floor (36% overall, 16.7% from 3-point range). The main offenders: Charlie Villanueva (2-17), Rodney Stuckey (5-16) and Brandon Knight (2-10, including the best/worst missed layup of the year).
- Even against a bad team like the Pistons, you want to give the Celtics credit for holding them to 36% shooting. You really do. But a good defensive trip turns into a bad one if the opposing team grabs the offensive rebound and scores, and that happened way, way too much tonight. Boston can’t be a good defensive team until they hit the defensive glass more consistently, and that probably doesn’t happen until KG returns and shores up the defensive rotations. For now, everyone looks out of place and confused every time a shot goes up.
- Paul Pierce returned and put up inefficient numbers (17 points, 5-14 shooting from the field), but nobody really cared since it was just nice to see him back on the floor. Post-game, he revealed that he just had a son, named Prince Paul Pierce. Related: Paul Pierce just won the “Name Your Son” game.
- Lost in Jeff Green’s nuclear detonation all over everything: Brandon Bass scored 17 points on just eight field goal attempts.
- Courtney Lee constantly (CONSTANTLY) puts his left foot back a step when he starts to drive. This isn’t a problem when he’s above the break, but considering that many of his drives to the basket start in the corner, it leads to a lot of turnovers stepping on the sideline. I’ve never understood why players need to step back to start a drive, but Lee needs to break the habit as badly as anyone.
That will have to do it for tonight. The Celtics get another home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Whether or not Boston wants to win remains to be seen.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.