Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics: Postgame Grades and Analysis
The Brooklyn Nets visited the Boston Celtics Wednesday night, and tempers flared with the creation of this new Atlantic Division rivalry. Though the Nets came away with the 95-83 victory, that was hardly the whole story.
With seconds remaining in the first half, both teams lost starters in a fight ignited by Rajon Rondo. Rondo went after Kris Humphries following a hard foul on Kevin Garnett. When the dust settled, both Rondo and Humphries had been ejected. Gerald Wallace followed them out with his second technical foul.
In the aftermath, it was all Nets, as they advanced to 10-4 on the season. Boston lost the game and possibly their star point guard for multiple games, should a suspension come down the pike. They drop to 8-7 on the season.
It was a relatively ugly game and not one that either team, particularly the loser, will look back on with much fondness.
Let's hit the classroom and see how both teams graded out.
Deron Williams, BKN PG: B-
Even with Rajon Rondo out of the game, this wasn't a particularly great showing from Deron Williams. He had a tough night from the field, shooting just 3-of-12 for eight points.
Overall, he seemed to play with a lack of enthusiasm, unable to really put the Celtics away in the second half. He didn't make many mistakes, though, finishing with just one turnover and seven assists.
What could have been a fantastic one-on-one matchup wound up being a complete dud in the end.
Rajon Rondo, BOS PG: F
The 18 minutes he played, Rondo was fairly productive. He hit a few shots, forced some turnovers and tallied three assists. Then he misjudged the severity of a Kris Humphries foul and ignited a brief shoving match that fell into the media cameras.
For his role in starting the fight, Rondo was ejected with 30 seconds to go in the first half. Being the team's only point guard, Rondo can't take himself out of games like this. Should he miss the next couple games with a suspension, the Celtics will be in a real bind.
Joe Johnson, BKN SG: B+
Joe Johnson scored a game-high 18 points, but didn't play a particularly great game. He shot just 6-of-14 from the field, and joined the rest of the players in a general second-half malaise.
Nonetheless, it was a good sign for the Nets, after Johnson played almost no role in their overtime win against New York earlier this week. Even if it is without much flash, if Johnson scores his points it will greatly help the Nets against top teams.
Jason Terry, BOS SG: B-
Jason Terry provided a great spark in the second half for Boston, but ultimately it was not enough. The shooting guard came away from the game with 13 points, but shot just 3-of-8 from the field.
This is pretty in-line with what Terry is offering this Celtics team. He only connected on 1-of-3 three-pointers, which is something he will have to improve on.
Terry never quit, though, which was nice to see. He was also right in there with Rajon Rondo at the outset of the violence.
Gerald Wallace, BKN SF: F
Like Rondo, Gerald Wallace didn't make it out of the first half. He was ejected from the game after receiving his second technical foul during the fight.
What he did while on the court was almost as egregious as his ejection. Wallace finished 2-of-10 in 18 minutes, for five points.
Wallace has to be smarter about his actions. Knowing that another technical will result in your removal from the game, you have to stay outside the fracas when it gets going. Instead, Wallace entered and was summarily dismissed from the court.
Paul Pierce, BOS SF: C+
With numerous opportunities to help the C's fight their way back into the game, Paul Pierce continually came up empty.
Most shockingly, it was from the free-throw line where Pierce helped let the air out of Boston's hopes. He connected on just 6-of-11 from the line and 4-of-13 from the field, en route to a 14-point night.
Helping Pierce's case for a passing grade was his all-around play. He grabbed nine rebounds and with Rajon Rondo out, took over as a playmaker, distributing seven assists.
Kris Humphries, BKN PF: C
Tough to place much blame on Kris Humphries here. He committed a foul on Kevin Garnett, and then all of a sudden found himself backpedaling into the stands. I'm sure he got a few good shots in and had a hand in removing Rajon Rondo's jersey, but what else is a man to do when that situation befalls you?
In 12 minutes of action prior to his ejection, Humphries put up three points and four rebounds. He also had a pair of timely blocks.
Brandon Bass, BOS PF: B
Brandon Bass put together a fairly solid game. He finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 points. However, he was roasted on the boards by the Brooklyn Nets bigs. Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans combined for 23 rebounds, a lot of which were over Bass.
This is continuing to be the story with Bass. He is scoring at a great rate right now, but his rebounding will always be a concern. As long as he is the starting power forward, the Celtics will not be a good rebounding team.
Brook Lopez, BKN C: A-
It was a short game for Brook Lopez, as the Nets big man played just 17 minutes.
For the time he was on the court, he provided. Lopez came up a point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
The rebounds are a great thing to focus on for Brooklyn. Long has the knock been on Lopez that he couldn't rebound. However, against Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett in the past two games, he has grabbed a combined 21 boards.
Kevin Garnett, BOS C: A-
Kevin Garnett put together a very good, albeit quiet, game. The Celtics center registered his second straight double-double, tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Garnett, who hit 7-of-13 from the field, provided a decent calming presence on the offensive end for the Celtics. He hit a lot of shots to stem Nets runs, which is a promising notion for the future.
Andray Blatche, BKN PF: A
In a lot of garbage time, Andray Blatche really put together a solid overall performance.
He wound up being the star of the game, with 17 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes. It wound up being a short night for Brooklyn's starting frontcourt, which was just fine with Blatche, who used it as a platform.
This is a great sign moving forward for the Nets. An involved Blatche is a dangerous weapon for a good team.
Courtney Lee, BOS SG: D
Courtney Lee was the main recipient of additional playing time coming out of the Rajon Rondo ejection. Unfortunately, he was once again soft on the offensive end. He put up just five shots in 27 minutes, scoring just four points and registering a minus-12 in the game.
Lee needs to be more aggressive offensively, especially in a game where Rondo is absent.
He shook off a wrist injury and returned to the court late in the fourth quarter, which is a good sign moving forward.
Brooklyn Nets Bench: A
Jerry Stackhouse has put together a few solid games lately. The 38-year-old guard has made a home for himself on the corners. He connected on 5-of-6 shots, all threes, good for 17 points. This was his second straight game with outstanding production. He tallied 14 points against the Knicks earlier this week.
Reggie Evans was once again big off the Brooklyn bench. He punished the Celtics on the glass alongside Andray Blatche, and threw in some solid offense as well. Evans grabbed 10 boards and contributed five points on the night.
C.J. Watson went 7-of-10 from the line and scored 13 points off the bench.
Boston Celtics Bench: D
Both benches were called into action more in the second half in light of the scuffle. Unfortunately for Boston, no one in their second unit was up to the task.
Chris Wilcox had a nice sequence in the first half, connecting on an alley-oop and fade-away jumper. But there wasn't much else to report on. Jeff Green was once again depressing overall. He left the game for a stretch with a knee injury, but returned no worse for wear.