Going into Monday’s battle between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, there was a ton of speculation around the league that the green team would have a chance without their intensified, star power forward Kevin Garnett. But those doubters became believers despite Miami resuming their winning streak to 23.
That being said, let’s check out the Celtics high points in the loss.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Carried Over:
Apparently green wasn’t enough on St. Patrick’s day as Boston received a post-St. Patrick’s Day hangover from their own: Jeff Green.
The 26-year-old small forward did much more than give a Kevin Garnett-less Celtics a boost of scoring, but he provided a career-high 43 points. Green’s aggression and motivation to drive to the hoop with no regard was true. The four-year swingman, who has been averaging 12.6 points and 3.6 rebounds, also knocked down three after three shooting 5-for-7 from downtown.
Maybe it’s a good thing KG did not play tonight. Green got to show off what he is made of off mismatches and a demeanor the NBA world has not seen before.
With the season dwindling down, Green must bring a similar presence consistently for the Celtics to have an edge over opponents in the near future.
Lee and Bradley Present Heavy-Energized Backcourt:
Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley have been a great one-two punch ever since Rajon Rondo’s season-ending injury.
This dynamic — understatement — duo has been on the heels of the opposing guards dribbling up the ball. Their anticipating-heavy on the ball defense has been tremendous. These two guards have an eye and acknowledge every move their opponent is thinking. More than often, due to the on-your-heels pressure, the foe does not begin their offensive schemes well-within 14 seconds on the shot clock.
Lee and Bradley’s attacking mindset isn’t just applied to the defensive side of the ball, but as well as the offensive side of the ball. Lee, especially, isn’t settling for the jumper, instead he is looking to take flight whether it’s a vicious throwdown or a friendly kiss of the glass. Bradley, on the other hand, has been taking the rock to the hoop frequently, but simply comes up empty at the basket. His ability to knock down the three point jumper is improving. And that is exactly what coach Doc Rivers and staff must love: development and progression.
Turnovers Will Get the Best of You:
When Rondo was in elite form, Celtics would thrive with a half court set, but now since the point guard is not running the show many players have the opportunity to guide the ship. But sometimes that is not always a great thing.
Usually when there is not a primary ball handler present on the court, things can get a little out of hand. And that was shown in the Celtics offense all through the contest. Whether it is Jason Terry or Bradley dribbling the ball in the backcourt, there is a lot of ifs that come to life. And ultimately those ifs transforms into turnovers.
The Celtics had a total of 20 turnovers in Monday’s loss. I’m not saying Terry and Bradley were the main causes, but it was relevant with an immense amount of hesitance and indecisiveness. To be specific, there were multiple occasions when Terry leaped to dish the ball to Paul Pierce and a Heat member got hand on it. If the C’s want to make a postseason push, they must iron out those wrinkles.
Boston will not face an easy schedule by any means in the upcoming schedule. Teams like the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hawks and Knicks stand before them, but for the C’s to make a giant push in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference playoff standings. Six games over .500 is an OK state, but to be 16 games over .500 tastes much sweeter.