Boston Celtics' Hottest and Coldest Players Heading into the All-Star Break
Well, the All-Star break is basically here, and the Boston Celtics are rolling.
Despite hearing the news that they would now be without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for the remainder of the season, the Celtics won seven straight before ultimately falling to the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, the loss likely coming because Boston had just won a triple-overtime affair against the Denver Nuggets the night before.
Clearly, the C's have chosen fight instead of flight, and now, GM Danny Ainge will probably look to add pieces instead of blowing up the roster. He may have to make a move now that it appears Leandro Barbosa is done for the year, as well.
It seems like everyone on the Celtics has been playing well recently, so it's time to give credit where credit is due...and to hope one player in particular finally wakes up.
All stats in this article are accurate as of February 12th, 2013.
Hot: Jeff Green
It's high time the NBA world starts to take notice of Jeff Green.
The Celtics' backup forward has been scorching since the end of January, averaging 14.8 points on 53.6 percent shooting and playing fantastic defense. There have been plenty of times where Green has been the best player on the floor for Boston, utilizing his versatility to create matchup problems on the perimeter and in the post.
Green got off to a slow start this season, and it was obvious that he was still in the process of recovering from heart surgery. Some did not see it that way and were ready to run him out of town, but all of the Green bashers should be changing their tune by now.
The most impressive thing is that Green appears to be getting better by the day. He is more aggressive, he is putting the ball on the floor with more authority, and it seems like he throws down at least one rim-rocking slam every game.
If the man known as Uncle Jeff keeps up—or improves—this level of play, he is going to end up being worth every penny of the four-year, $36 million contract the C's gave him this past offseason.
Hot: Paul Pierce
Many felt that when Rondo went down with a season-ending ACL tear, Paul Pierce would be the one to pick up the slack. Well, he has done that and more.
Pierce has been an absolute monster since Rondo's injury, recording two triple-doubles (including a 27-point, 14-rebound, 14-assist performance in the Celtics' thrilling triple-overtime win over the Denver Nuggets) and playing the role of facilitator by averaging 7.4 assists. Not only that, but The Truth has put up double-digit rebounds four times in that span, averaging 9.9 boards per game.
The Truth could still serve to shoot better from the floor, as he is hitting on only 40.7 percent of his shot attempts during the month of February, but with all of the other things he has been doing, Boston can live with that.
Something tells me Pierce is going to have a heck of a second half.
Hot: Jason Terry
Pierce isn't the only vet on the Celtics who has stepped it up in Rondo's absence.
Jason Terry seems to have new life, shooting 55.7 percent from the field over his last seven games (44.1 percent from three) while averaging 13.1 points in the process.
This is the Terry that Boston thought it was getting when it gave him the mid-level exception over the summer, and it's about time The Jet has finally landed.
As strange as it may sound, Terry is actually significantly benefiting from Rondo not being on the floor, as he now has the ball in his hands more. I had been saying all season long that Doc Rivers was misusing Terry by having him play the role of Ray Allen by running off of screens to get a shot, as that is not Terry's game. He is a guy who can create his own shot without having to do that. Now, you're starting to see that.
Terry looks a lot more comfortable out there now, and it is almost certainly due to the fact that he now touches the basketball far more often than he once did.
Hot: Kevin Garnett
That brings us to Kevin Garnett, a guy who always seems to be playing well.
Garnett has been nothing short of magnificent as of late, pulling down double-digit rebounds in seven of his last 10 games and being simply dominant on the defensive end of the floor.
Perhaps moreso than ever this season, K.G. has hit clutch shot after clutch shot, representing a go-to guy for the Celtics late in games. That is absolutely huge, as now Rivers doesn't have to just run the usually futile Pierce isolations in crunch time.
Remember last year when Garnett flipped the switch and turned it on after the All-Star break? It looks like we're going to see that again this time around, and with Rajon shelved, K.G. may not have much of a choice.
Cold: Brandon Bass
That leads us to Brandon Bass, a guy who always seems to, um, not be playing well.
Words truly cannot describe how abysmal Bass has been this season, and while his February numbers (7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor) may not be terrible, they do not tell the full story.
Bass continues to get lost defensively, sometimes killing any momentum the Celtics have built. He is also still juggling passes left and right and showing very little awareness of where to be on the floor offensively. Floor spacing seems to cease whenever Bass is on the floor.
The most frustrating thing is how Bass actually threw a subtle shot at Rondo after Boston's win over the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 1, saying how he hopes he'll get more shots because everyone is now moving the ball.
Well Brandon, you haven't really improved all that much.
With Barbosa now likely out for the year as well, Bass becomes that much more important. He needs to turn back the clock to the second half of the 2011-2012 campaign.