Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Mike Walsh@WalshWritesCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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    On the second night of a home-and-home series, the Boston Celtics torched the Philadelphia 76ers 92-79.

    The Celtics used stifling defense to build a 48-28 halftime lead, severely limiting Philadelphia's quality looks on offense. They withstood a great third-quarter run by the 76ers to cut the deficit to single digits, but the size of the lead was too much to overcome. A 12-point second quarter doomed the visiting 76ers in the long run.

    Kevin Garnett was the scoring leader for Boston with 19 points. He was on fire from the perimeter and connected on 9-of-11 from the field. While it wasn't a triple-double, Rajon Rondo posted seven points, nine rebounds and 11 assists in the win.

    Thaddeus Young led all scorers with 22 points, but none of his teammates could get anything going offensively, and the 76ers shot just 39 percent from the field.

    Boston advances to 11-9, shifting into a tie with the 76ers, who fell to 11-9 with the loss. The two teams split a home-and-home back-to-back series, but Philadelphia still leads the season series 2-1.

    Let's hit the classroom and see how both teams graded out in Boston's big win.

Point Guards

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    Rajon Rondo: A-

    In the premiere matchup of the night, Rajon Rondo again produced a great all-around game. While it wasn't as flashy or potent as the triple-double the night before, Rondo still contributed to the Celtics win in nearly every aspect of the game.

    Rondo scored seven points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out 11 assists. He took much more of a passive approach to the offense Saturday night, shooting just six shots and three free throws. In Philadelphia he put up 14 shots.

    Rondo's all-around effort is illustrated by his mark of plus-22. That is plus-seven greater than his next closest teammate.

    Jrue Holiday: B

    While his play didn't contribute much to the 76ers' overall game, Jrue Holiday did have himself a nice night. The up-and-coming point guard scored 11 points and registered eight assists.

    Unfortunately, it took Holiday 13 shots to get his 11 points, going 4-of-13 from the field. He did grab five rebounds, but he had little impact on the overall proceedings.

    Like Evan Turner, Holiday needs to work on his overall consistency. There are going to be off-nights, but this was an opportunity for Philadelphia to really stick it to Boston long term. Starting the season 3-0 against an Atlantic Division rival would have been huge for the 76ers. 

Shooting Guards

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    Jason Terry: C+

    The rims of the TD Garden were slightly more forgiving for Jason Terry than those of the Wells Fargo Center the night before.

    Terry, who was unable to get anything going offensively in Philadelphia, returned home to hit some big shots early in the return game. While his final numbers don't look very impressive, he scored most of his nine points while the Celtics were building their big first-half lead.

    Still, Terry nearly drew goose eggs across the stat sheet outside of points, save for one rebound. It is still tough to see Terry as the starting shooting guard long term because he just doesn't do much outside of shooting.

    Jason Richardson: D

    Jason Richardson found baskets tough to come by when the Boston Celtics ratcheted up their defense Saturday night. 

    The veteran shooting guard connected on just 2-of-7 from the field for eight points. Both of his makes were three-pointers, but it wasn't nearly enough to help Philadelphia overcome the blowout.

    Richardson had a miserable night overall for the 76ers and had a telling minus-16 for the game. Minus-16 was by far the worst mark of the night for either team.

Small Forwards

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    Paul Pierce: B+

    Paul Pierce didn't score as much as he did the night before, but his play greatly effected the outcome of this game.

    Pierce scored just 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but he dished out nine assists. He was very good playmaking for the Celtics all night, contributing massively to Boston's building of its big lead.

    This was a very impressive performance by the Celtics captain, not just because of his numbers, but because of the situation. On the second night of a back-to-back, playing against very young and athletic competition and after battling through big minutes in an overtime game, Pierce didn't show his age Saturday night.

    Evan Turner: C

    One night after posting 26 points and hitting some big shots down the stretch of an overtime win, Evan Turner was silent.

    It was Turner, not Paul Pierce, who looked to be showing the effects of the back-to-back. Philadelphia's swingman scored just 13 points and took 16 shots to get there. He didn't get to the line once and was settling for jumpers and bad shots. 

    This is inconsistency that the 76ers can't withstand at this point of the season. With some big names out with injuries, Turner has to learn to bring it every night, regardless of the the situation. At just 24 years old, there is time for this to develop, but Turner doesn't have it in him.

Power Forwards

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    Thaddeus Young: B+

    Thaddeus Young had a tremendous offensive game Saturday and was really the only 76ers player able to get something going scoring the basketball.

    Young finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Where Young really made his mark was in the paint. He connected on 6-of-8 shots down low and dominated the Celtics bigs offensively.

    He was a force early on in the third quarter when the 76ers made their run to get back into the game.

    Unfortunately, Young's scoring didn't help his team much in the long run. He only grabbed three rebounds on the night, which wasn't good enough for Philadelphia.

    Brandon Bass: C+

    Brandon Bass played decently, but he never really made himself known. 

    It is Bass' style to put up numbers under the radar, which he did to a degree Saturday night. Boston's power forward finished with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. 

    Where Bass' grade dropped dramatically was on the defensive end. His counterpart in the game, Thaddeus Young, had a stellar night. Bass allowed Young to drop 22 points on him and pretty much have his way in the paint all night. 


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    Kevin Garnett: B+

    Some nights you just can't miss. This was one of those evenings for Kevin Garnett.

    The Celtics center connected on 9-of-11 from the field while scoring 19 points. 

    Those numbers are doubly impressive considering how many of Garnett's attempts were perimeter jumpers. Garnett found his sweet spot early and with Rondo dishing him the ball, he was on fire all night. He scored on numerous back-to-back possessions, which played a major hand in building Boston's big first-half lead.

    With Garnett on the bench in the third quarter, Philadelphia made a big run. The 76ers cut the deficit to 10 before Garnett was inserted back into the game. Boston promptly battened down the defensive hatches and cruised to victory. 

    An odd occurrence lowered his grade slightly. Kevin Garnett did not record a rebound in 23 minutes of action. That isn't a positive for a Celtics team that struggles rebounding as it is.

    Lavoy Allen: C

    As good as Kevin Garnett was shooting the basketball Saturday night, Lavoy Allen was the opposite. 

    The Philadelphia center couldn't size up the TD Garden rims and went just 2-of-8 from the field for four points. Allen did grab nine rebounds, four offensively, but it simply wasn't enough.

    Allen also struggled protecting the rim. Rajon Rondo got a large chunk of his assists on easy alley-oops to his frontcourt.

    Allen has to do a better job watching out for that Celtics staple and defending it. Doug Collins clearly thought so as well. Allen played just 22 minutes, while reserve Spencer Hawes saw 29.

Sixth Men

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    Jeff Green: A

    This is the Jeff Green the Celtics organization has been looking for since they traded for him two seasons ago. 

    The Celtics sixth man was aggressive and strong off the bench in scoring 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Green took the ball at the rim consistently throughout the game. He powered through the paint at a few key junctures when it appeared the Celtics were settling for too many jumpers. 

    This isn't the Jeff Green Boston has gotten familiar with, but he has put together a few solid games in a row now for the first time all season.

    Spencer Hawes: B-

    As steady a reserve big as you'll find in the NBA these days, Spencer Hawes put together another solid outing off the 76ers bench. 

    The freshly mullet-ed center has been forced into sixth-man duties due to injuries. You could do a lot worse in your first man off the bench. Hawes posted six points and eight rebounds for Philadelphia. 

    He stayed steady during the Celtics' big runs in the first half. While Boston was building a big lead, Hawes kept making good decisions with the ball and went through the motions in helping his team fight back into the game. 


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    Boston Celtics Bench: B+

    Chris Wilcox joined Jeff Green as the main attraction off the Celtics bench Saturday night. Wilcox was on the receiving end of a few Rajon Rondo alley-oops and displayed some great hustle. The Celtics' reserve big man scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and blocked two shots. 

    Jared Sullinger did some fine work on the glass again, but he was relatively quiet in his 22 minutes. He grabbed nine rebounds and scored seven points, seeing extended time at the end of the blowout. Courtney Lee saw 21 minutes, scoring just three points.

    Philadelphia 76ers Bench: D

    Philadelphia is playing with a short bench. The 76ers are missing Nick Young, Royal Ivy and Andrew Bynum. Outside of Spencer Hawes, who has become the de facto sixth man, the only player seeing significant minutes is Dorell Wright. 

    Wright tallied four points in just 20 minutes. Maalik Wayns scored seven points, mostly in garbage time.