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Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Boston

Mike WalshCorrespondent IJune 15, 2016

Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Boston

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    Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett took over in overtime, as the Boston Celtics outlasted the Utah Jazz 110-107.

    The Celtics' veteran leaders combined for 11 of Boston's 13 points in the extra period, and that proved to be the difference. They were dominant offensively, getting good looks that they just couldn't miss.

    Utah used a 25-point fourth quarter to overcome a sizable deficit and force overtime, but from there, there was no stopping the Celtics. Boston was playing the final game of their five-game West Coast road trip and got to go home on a high note.

    Pierce led Boston with 26 points, including seven in overtime. The Celtics placed six players in double figures as well.

    Gordon Hayward provided the punch off the bench for Utah, getting 26 points of his own. 

    The win pushes the Celtics to 30-27 on the season and to within 2.5 games of the Chicago Bulls and the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference. Utah falls to 31-26, but holds steady to their spot as the No. 7 seed in the West.

    Let's hit the Bleacher Report Classroom to see how the Celtics graded out in their overtime win.

Point Guard

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    Avery Bradley, BOS PG: A-

    Avery Bradley got off to a scorching start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. 

    That laid the groundwork for one outstanding game from Boston's young guard. Bradley, quite literally, did a little bit of everything for Boston. On top of scoring 18 points, he grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and picked up two steals. 

    He was active on both ends pretty much throughout, though he took a backseat offensively late. By then, Bradley was already 8-of-12 from the field and had done plenty of damage.

    His athleticism and defensive intensity were really a problem for the Jazz's starting guards. Unfortunately, Utah figured that out and went with taller options off the bench in Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks late. 

Shooting Guard

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    Courtney Lee, BOS SG: B-

    Courtney Lee hit maybe the two biggest shots of the game.

    Lee sank a pair of free throws to ice the game with a second left and his team up one. To get those freebies, he broke free on an inbounds play, allowing a couple extra seconds to be run off before he was fouled.

    Lee also had a really nice offensive stretch in the third quarter, scoring seven points in just two minutes. He wound up with nine of his 14 points coming in that quarter. He finished 4-of-8 from the field and grabbed five rebounds.

    Lee had real trouble defending Gordon Hayward, but so did everyone wearing a green jersey. The Jazz shooting guard wound up with 26 points.

Small Forward

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    Paul Pierce, BOS SF: A

    In the extra period, Paul Pierce just took DeMarre Carroll to basketball school.

    He showed him a bit of everything in his repertoire, burying a three, lulling him to sleep, taking him off a pick. Pierce scored seven straight in overtime and assisted on the next basket, taking over the game for five minutes.

    Pierce really provided the backbone for Boston's third-quarter run as well. He hit some big shots while doing things like taking a charge on the defensive end. 

    Ideally, you'd like him to be a little more economical with his three-point attempts, just 3-of-10 from downtown, but most of those were open misses. In his defense, it seemed like a cap was on the basket in the fourth quarter for all the Celtics. Plus, his big overtime trey covers this up.

    Pierce had a huge play in the final minute of regulation that didn't involve shooting at all. He grabbed a monster rebound and quickly found a breaking Jason Terry on the outlet pass for a layup. He followed that up with a nice jumper. 

    All in all, Pierce was 10-of-20 for 26 points. He added eight assists and seven rebounds in a phenomenal 39 minutes.

Power Forward

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    Brandon Bass, BOS PF: C+

    Bass was granted quite a few wide-open jumpers in the first half, his bread and butter. Thanks to those open looks, he racked up eight first-quarter points. 

    Those shots didn't fall in the second half though, as Bass finished with 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Fortunately, he got to the line seven times and was perfect. 

    This was obviously not a game where anyone expected Bass to hold his own in the paint. He is just too undersized to bang with teams like the Jazz. It's never a good sign when your starting power forward grabs just three rebounds in a team-high 42 minutes.

    He was called into service to close the game, not normally when he has been used by Doc Rivers, and got embarrassed by Gordon Hayward on a key possession, leading to the overtime-forcing layup.


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    Kevin Garnett, BOS C: B

    After playing 31 minutes in regulation, Doc Rivers asked if Kevin Garnett was good to go in overtime. He has to be glad his big man answered affirmatively, as he was key to Boston's close-out.

    It wasn't all roses for Garnett. He was oddly caught out of position a few times defensively. He seemed to get lost in the shuffle of Utah's mammoth front line during much of the game.

    He wound up on Gordon Hayward a few times and was unable to stick with him. Garnett allowed the Jazz reserve an open three and then later fouled him after being beat on a drive.

    Despite the worry about overextension of his minutes, Garnett has continued to play well in overtime this season. He scored four points and grabbed three boards in the extra five minutes. He banked another jumper, but got the release off just after a shot-clock violation.

    When all was said and done, Garnett had earned a double-double. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but was relatively quiet until overtime.

Sixth Man

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    Jeff Green, BOS SF: D+

    Jeff Green pulled one of his infamous "disappearing act" games against the Utah Jazz.

    He finished the night with six points, needing 10 shots to get there. Green threw up a lot of singles in the stat sheet, tallying just one board, one assist and one steal. 

    He made up for a couple sleepy defensive plays early with quick offensive strikes going the other way. Those were nice, but few and far between.

    His aggression actually got him in trouble a bit in the fourth quarter. Green took back-to-back bad shots, trying to take on double-teams, which the Jazz turned into four points the other way. Those gave away the rest of the lead Boston built in the third quarter.

    Green was used by Rivers throughout the closing stretch but didn't do a lot positive. He messed up once more, choosing to pass to Kevin Garnett with time expiring on the shot clock. That cost Boston a crucial possession in overtime.


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    Boston Celtics Bench: C

    In the final game of Boston's road trip, Doc Rivers really shortened up the bench.

    Chris Wilcox has started to see more time for the Celtics of late. Unfortunately, he was essentially a cardboard standee when it came to defending Al Jefferson and Utah's bigs.

    How he wound up with three steals and two blocks, I cannot seem to recall. Wilcox had two points and two boards in 21 minutes.

    Jason Terry hit a pair of monster threes at the end of the third quarter and finished with 14 points. He scored a big layup in the final minute, deftly sneaking away from his man on a Utah miss and taking the outlet pass for an easy layup.

    Terry wound up making 4-of-9 threes, leading the way for Boston, which hit 10 overall.

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