Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Postgame Grades & Analysis for Boston
Boston hung around for the first three quarters despite turning the ball over constantly and getting absolutely no production from its bench, but when the fourth quarter started with a 10-2 Thunder run, the game was all but over.
Paul Pierce had a great game, but Kevin Garnett was disappointing, which served as the difference in the game. Boston's center went 5-of-19 from the floor and couldn't buy a basket either at the rim or on his bread-and-butter mid-range jumper. Avery Bradley was a bright spot, holding Russell Westbrook to a 5-11 offensive effort.
The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times on Sunday, which is way too many against a team as offensively dangerous as Oklahoma City.
Point Guard: Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley was a monster guarding Russell Westbrook, picking his pocket and drawing a shooting foul on the other end early in the game. The result was Oklahoma City playing Westbrook off the ball a bit more than normal, running him off screens and taking him out of what makes him so successful.
Offensively, Bradley finished the first half 4-of-5 from the floor for nine points. As the game continued, he developed at the point guard position, highlighted by a beautiful pocket pass to Chris Wilcox in the second half. He finished 5-of-10 for 12 points.
Shooting Guard: Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee continued to give the Celtics solid defense, especially in limited minutes early on covering Kevin Durant and the more evenly matched Kevin Martin.
He scored eight points in 28 minutes of basketball that overall didn't hurt the Celtics, but didn't encourage them all that much either.
Small Forward: Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce was fantastic in the second quarter as it looked like the Thunder were pulling away, scoring seven straight points on an array of drives and a smooth three-pointer from the wing. His offense kept the Celtics in the game.
Pierce finished the first half with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, though, and in the fourth quarter it was a bit of an issue. He finished the game with 20 points and six assists, and also put in some incredible individual defense against Kevin Durant.
Power Forward: Brandon Bass
Brandon Bass had one of the best plays of his season in the second quarter, grabbing an offensive rebound in traffic then dunking over several Thunder defenders. He was effective for much of the game on the glass, which is rare, and he held his own as a post defender guarding Kendrick Perkins.
Bass also switched on pick-and-rolls and did a surprisingly good job containing ball-handlers. He finished with 13 rebounds (five of them offensive).
Center: Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett began the game as a heavy part of Boston's offense, taking four shots in his first five-minute stint. Unfortunately, it wasn't his best shooting night on mid-range shots. He went 4-of-12 through the first three quarters, with nearly all of his attempts coming on spot-up jumpers.
In the fourth quarter his struggles stretched toward the rim, where he couldn't buy a basket in the post. He finished with 10 points on 19 shots and 11 rebounds.
Sixth Man: Jeff Green
Jeff Green was incredibly aggressive from the moment he entered the game, attacking the basket in transition and off the dribble nearly every time he touched it, with mixed results.
Those mixed results slowly morphed into bad results as the game went on, with Green going 1-of-6 from the floor in his first 19 minutes. (However, he did throw down a ferocious reverse dunk late in the third quarter; a move that's quickly become his signature.)
Green finished the game 2-of-11 from the floor. If Boston wants to win games like this (something it's certainly capable of), Green needs to be successful on the offensive end.
Today, he was anything but.
Jason Terry and Chris Wilcox combined for five turnovers in the game's first half. (As an entire team, the Thunder had four.)
Terry specifically couldn't do anything right until the game's final few minutes, when he knocked down two straight three-pointers to cut Boston's deficit to eight with two minutes left. He finished 3-of-8 from the floor for nine points.
Jordan Crawford was his typically wild self in spurts, but didn't quite get enough minutes to make a tangible difference either way on the game's outcome. He finished with four points and four missed shots in 15 minutes.