After watching them treat the Charlotte Bobcats' full-court zone press like large rocks would atop a damp paper towel—eventually leading to a 100-89 victory—it's safe to say the Boston Celtics have retained their status as one of basketball's most destructive entities.
They've now won six straight games and are getting consistent production from a bench that started the season with a ton of questions.
Tonight Boston held the Charlotte Bobcats to 33.3 percent shooting in the first half and out-rebounded them 42-34 in the game. Rajon Rondo waltzed his way into his third triple-double of the season, and the more-skilled, experienced and talented team won a game it should have dominated.
This might have been Rondo's best performance of the season. He recorded his third triple-double of 2012-13 (the 26th of his career) and did so with huge play after huge play. He made eight of his 11 shots, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished on 12 assists.
Rondo was stuffing the box score early on, snatching the ball off the glass, setting up teammates and attacking the rim with the type of energy Boston could use in just about every game it plays.
Bradley seems to have found his offensive niche as a knockdown shooter from the corner. He made four in this game and three in the first half.
Starting the game off with a strong baseline drive that ended in a dunk, Bradley ended up with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Oh, and his defense made the likes of Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon all shudder.
Offensively, Pierce was stellar, scoring with jumpers and savvy drives to the basket to the tune of a team-high 19 points. But on defense he was even better, staying with his much younger opposition as they relentlessly tried breaking him down with penetration by quickly shuffling his feet and waving his arms.
Pierce has always been an underrated isolation defender, and that part of his game is still being played at a respectable level. Tonight he showed it.
Bass knocked down his first jumper on a beautiful baseline look. He was spry early on, attacking the glass and aggressively protecting Boston's rim—most notably on a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist layup attempt.
He knocked down his first three shots, but also picked up three fouls in the first quarter. They were the only three baskets he'd make in just 17 minutes of play.
Garnett took a hard shot to the head by Gerald Henderson midway through the second quarter. (Henderson was assessed a flagrant-1 foul.) And that's about the most notable accomplishment he made on offense.
He finished the game 2-of-11 from the floor, but (as usual) made his impact felt on the defensive end, swatting several Bobcats shots and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Jared Sullinger found himself in foul trouble, picking up two in his first three minutes of action. But in the second half, when the Bobcats began to make their run, Sullinger refused to be fazed.
He made all four of his shots and grabbed five rebounds in 22 minutes. Sullinger continues to get similar minutes that Brandon Bass had down the stretch last season. It'll be interesting to see if Doc Rivers makes a change to the starting lineup sooner than later.
Thanks to Brandon Bass' early foul trouble, Jason Collins was thrust into the rotation much earlier than normal. That was...interesting. Collins showed a bit of a mean streak near the rim on both ends of the court, swatting shots, getting under penetrators and, with the ball, doing ugly things on a consistent basis.
In the first half, Jeff Green showed some exciting offensive flashes, connecting on a jumper after smoothly curling over a screen, and later driving from the perimeter through Charlotte's soft defensive rotation and scoring at the basket. He knocked down threes and drove baseline for an impressive dunk, finishing the game with 11 points (all in the first half) on 4-of-8 shooting.
Jason Terry is trickling on the outside of Boston's rotation, and it's something to keep an eye on. Tonight he failed to score a point in just 15 minutes of action.