In a battle between inter-conference postseason contenders, the Boston Celtics took down the Golden State Warriors by a score of 94-86. Paul Pierce led the way with 26 points, as the Celtics collaborated for a dominant defensive performance.
So how did it all go down?
After dropping 54 points on the New York Knicks, Stephen Curry followed up with 25. Unfortunately, he shot just 6-of-22 from the floor as Avery Bradley led an elite defensive performance.
As a team, the Warriors shot just 34.0 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from beyond the arc.
With Pierce firing, Bradley defending and Jeff Green doing it all, the Celtics managed to pick up a much-needed win. They're now 31-27 and just three games out of fifth place.
Here come the Celtics.
Overall Grade: B+
Minutes Played: 21
8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3/6 FG, 1/2 3PT
Avery Bradley did an excellent job of blitzing the three-point line on defense and providing in-and-out ball handling on offense.
Perhaps his greatest moment came around the 3:10 mark of the second quarter, as Bradley was challenged to take a three. With Boston's lead slipping away, he threw it up.
Unfortunately, Bradley battled foul trouble early and saw his playing time limited. Even still, he contained Stephen Curry in every sense of the word.
No 54 points tonight—Bradley hardly let Curry touch the ball. When he did, it was a nightmare to get a shot off clean.
Curry finished 6-of-22 from the field and 3-of-11 from three-point range.
Barring the fouls, Bradley played as well as you could ask of him.
Overall Grade: B
Minutes Played: 26
8 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3/5 FG
Courtney Lee continues to provide energy and athleticism along the perimeter. More importantly, he makes up for Jason Terry's shortcomings.
With Terry going just 1-of-8, Lee saw extra minutes and played a key role on both ends. With eight points and four assists, we can see his offensive contributions quite clearly.
The most important aspect of Lee's performance, however, was how well he played in shutting down sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
Thompson shot just 7-of-19 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Lee can be credited for shutting him down.
Joined by Avery Bradley, Lee dominated the perimeter and put on a phenomenal defensive performance in the process.
Overall Grade: A+
Minutes Played: 36
26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 9/15 FG, 7/11 FT, 7 turnovers
Paul Pierce was superb, anchoring a first quarter push by scoring 13 of Boston's first 31 points. That includes an And-One and a beautiful catch and finish after a poor feed by Jordan Crawford.
As the game progressed, it was more of the brilliant same from The Truth.
Pierce consistently found a way to penetrate and draw contact. It was this level of tenacity that allowed Boston to exploit the Warriors' lack of an interior defensive presence.
It's also the reason that Pierce finished with 26 points.
Pierce put his versatile repertoire on full display by drawing opponents into the air with ball and pump fakes. He also crashed the boards, facilitated and spaced the floor with his shooting.
Even with seven turnovers, Pierce earned a perfect grade.
Overall Grade: C+
Minutes Played: 27
8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Brandon Bass posted a quality stat line and continues to be a helpful contributor. With that being said, there were moments which exposed Boston's need for a power-forward upgrade.
Bass failed to bring in passes down low in scoring opportunities on more than one occasion. Although he managed to draw a foul, this stunted Boston's offensive flow.
This has been the story of Bass' tenure, as he remains a mid-range player with limited back-to-the-basket skills. Fortunately, he made it work tonight.
A quality outing by a quality player.
Overall Grade: A-
Minutes Played: 32
7 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 2/10 FG
Kevin Garnett may have struggled from the field, but he dominated the glass and played superb interior defense.
KG finished the evening with 13 rebounds, a block and a steal in 32 minutes. The numbers speak volumes to how dominant he was defensively.
As for the plays which mattered most, Garnett's block came on a double-clutch by David Lee. The swat put an end to a Golden State run.
It was opportunistic plays like that which helped KG anchor a victory. An excellent play on an evening in which KG moved into 11th on the all time rebounding list.
Making rebounding history with 13 boards? That's legendary.
Overall Grade: A+
Minutes Played: 27
18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 8/13 FG
On a night in which Paul Pierce reminded everyone why he's still starting, Jeff Green decided to refresh our memories on another truth.
He is the future of Boston Celtics basketball.
Green finished with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocks. He shot 8-of-13 from the floor and consistently made defensive stops.
That includes the far-too-common occasions in which Green rotated into defending Stephen Curry.
What was most impressive about Green's performance is that he remained in the game after a nasty spill. After being called for an offensive foul, Green fell from a high-rising jump shot and landed directly on his hip and elbow.
Even still, Green came back and capped off a phenomenal performance.
Overall Grade: B
Average +/-: +4.6
Collective Stat Line
37 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks
Led by Chris Wilcox, the Boston Celtics' bench had a very efficient evening.
Statistically, Wilcox finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Beyond the box score, however, Wilcox quietly dominated the interior.
The Warriors scored just 38 points in the paint—Wilcox's ability to limit second chance scoring opportunities is a major reason why.
Jordan Crawford and Jason Terry struggled to shoot the ball, which damages the overall efficiency of the team.
With that being said, both men helped space the floor. This allowed Paul Pierce and Jeff Green to shoulder the scoring load.
After holding the Warriors to a team slash line of .340/.217/.773, it's hard to find anything negative to harp on with the Celtics.