One night after competing in a triple-overtime battle against the Denver Nuggets, the Boston Celtics fell to the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 94-91 in Charlotte. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Boston, and on the other end, it ended Charlotte's seven-game losing streak.
Avery Bradley led the team in minutes, logging 35, while Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both found themselves on the court for 29 minutes.
Even worse for the Celtics, Leandro Barbosa went down with what appeared to be a serious left knee injury midway through the contest. He did not appear capable of putting any weight on the leg and
had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Bradley continued to show limitations on the offensive end, scoring just four points in the first half. His defense remains solid, but on the other end is where the Celtics will need him to show dramatic improvements if they want to dominate lesser teams like the Bobcats.
In no instance was this more evident than when Bradley caught a pass from Pierce right above the free-throw line with under a minute to go in a one-point game. He went up to shoot and missed.
Grading a player on one shot is silly, but Bradley turned down several open looks throughout the game, with a few of them eventually turning into turnovers.
Lee drove baseline for a ferocious dunk over Bismack Biyombo in one of the first plays of the game, but those were his only two points of the first half.
Similar to Bradley, Lee needs to become more of a consistent scorer—especially when the team's regular playmakers are suffering heavily from fatigue.
In just 19 minutes of action, Lee scored four points and didn't attempt a single three-pointer.
By the time the third quarter rolled around, Pierce's legs began to understandably give out. He wasn't getting any lift on his shot or attacking the basket with regularity. The box score will read that he had an all-around impact, but watching things unfold, you could tell he was laboring.
Pierce finished with 13 points on 12 shots, eight assists and eight rebounds. He made all four of the free throws he attempted.
Bass did a great job knocking down the open shots that opened up for him early on, but he continues to struggle making an impact anywhere else on the court. He finished with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds along the way, but he allowed his man, Byron Mullens, to explode for one of his best performances of his career (25 points, 18 rebounds).
Bass' limitations were glaring on the night. He also missed a wide-open dunk in the first quarter and his only two free-throw attempts.
After playing his most minutes as a Boston Celtic Sunday night, Garnett understandably looked sluggish in stretches, especially in the second half, when he picked up a couple tired fouls late in the ballgame. But fatigue can't stop a crafty Hall of Famer like Garnett, and he still used his smarts to take advantage of several mismatches down on the block throughout the game.
Whenever he was covered by Bismack Biyombo, Garnett looked to score, and more often times than not, that's exactly what he did, putting the second-year player through a slew of moves that'll keep him up at night. Garnett finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
In a game where the Celtics needed their bench to step up and contribute, Jeff Green answered the call, taking over in the first half with 11 points. From beginning to end, this was one of his five best games as a Celtic, or at the very least, it his most aggressive.
He finished with 18 points in 24 minutes, making a game-high seven free throws and missing only three shots from the floor.
The big-man duo of Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins was solid in filling in for an obviously exhausted Garnett, and both did a pretty good job, playing a combined 30 minuted. Wilcox even chipped in with eight points.
Jason Terry continued to hit big shots, knocking down three three-pointers and finishing with 12 points. But the big story of the game was Barbosa's knee injury, which looked very serious.
Reported ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg after the game, "Barbosa is expected to be reevaluated on Tuesday in Boston, but teammate Kevin Garnett suggested after the game that the injury could threaten Barbosa's season."