I'm just glad we made it.
Stats: 33min 23pts (9-12, 2-4, 3-3) 6reb 4ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( A- ) -- you would never know it looking at the boxscore, but John actually got off to a very slow start to this one. IT and JT and Cuz were doing the damage early. Our wings were largely forgotten about. But when he returned to the game in the mid 2nd something had happened. Actually I didn't think it was at all clear it was going to be a good something at first. You see, John came off the bench, no doubt full of Coach Smart's greenlight nonsense, thinking he was Paul Pierce. Which is to say he was taking what can kindly be called high degree of difficulty forced shots repeatedly. But what turned this from a scowling muttering snippy grade into a big shiny one was this: John came off the bench and he WAS Paul Pierce. Not sure how it happened, but all of a sudden he turned the tables on a guy who has probably kicked his butt 100 times over the years, and it was John who was banign into people and hitting fallaways, and getting his number called out of timeouts and hitting dumb spinning shots off the dribble. Everything was falling, so after a while you just sit back and munch your popcorn and say, ok, guess that's the way its going to go. On defense also started slow, not having much impact early, having none at all on Jeff Green befor ethe half. But again, as hsi overall game began to peak in the third, so did his defense, and Jeff Green was soon looking like Jeff Green again while John got up into him and smothered him. Moved over to the SG when Thornton went down, which doesn't bother us much since he's more SG than SF anyway, and with that swap, and Johnson coming in off the bench to pick up the resulting SF minutes, we finally got decent rebouding out of the two positions, wiht John coming up wiht an uncommmon 6 boards for him.
Stats: 32min 20pts (8-11, 0-0, 4-8) 6reb 0ast 1stl 2blk 1TO
Thompson ( A- ) -- will never have any highlight reels made of his play of course (or at least none anybody wants to watch) but just continues to get it, and was getting it before anybody else even knew there was something to get. Played a very strong first quarter in all the keeping it simple ways. Took passes from Cuz for layups, cleaned up misses, hit a couple of short half hooks on called postups against the ruins of the Celtics interior defense. About the only thing he wasn't doing offensively was hitting his FTs. Continued his solid play into the 3rd as the Celtics did not have an answer for him, having only one big with any potency. Wasn't a great boarding night, bt on a night when we finally got teamwide contributions on the glass, that did not matter much. And just another rock solid efficient night.
Stats: 31min 12pts (4-12, 0-0, 4-4) 10reb 10ast 1stl 0blk 2TO
Cousins ( B ) -- notched his first career triple double...and yet may not even have played that strong a game by his standards. What was there from trhe very beginning was the passing. Had several good passes to JT early, and was moving the ball out of double teams. -- like Tyreke, that is how/why he can be such an effective passer. On the other end, Collins only reaosn for recieving a paycheck is to lean his big body on you and hack away (tonight he scored 0pts grabbed 1reb and had 5fouls in 18min), and Cuz never really looked comofrtable out there against him or KG. But didn't force much either A few tough misses aroudn he rim. A few missed jumpers. Nothing disruptive. Ran out for the racing dunk to close the first half for us for only his third hoop. In the third felt like it went a little too far, and some of the old problems emerged. basically, our little gunners shot too much, they ignored Cousins completely for a long stretch, and I started noticing and paying attention, and sure enoguh, Cuz started getting frustrated by it and eventually started taking those wild frustration fouls he does at times. His fault for getting frustrated? Sure. But also the fault of the perimeter gunners for not knowing their beast and feeding it now and again. Sat for a good long spell, and despite the triple double, it was not Demarcus who was he main mover and shaker of this win. That would have been IT, JT, and Salmons, who combined to shoot a ridiculous 27-38. But when he returned, it was to have some fun. Basically toyed with the Celtics down the stretch. On one end was jumping ina dn taking charges. On the other, started responding to every Celtics double team with quick passes out to Kings spot up shooters. Not as in oh once or twice a quarter, but as in at one point assisted on 4 straight Kings possessions. In fact by the final minutes he wasn't even looking to shoot anymore. You saw him doing the Vlade, posting up with the sole intetnion of passing, even when a shot opportunity opened up. And so he stormed down the stretch racking up probably half a dozen assists in the final half a dozen minutes as he hit open bombers all over the court. It was fun, and by the end it was a triple double. It just wasn't a dominant game winnnig performance like we have seen from Cuz at his best. A very welcome rturn to passing thoguh -- the 2nd half of his rookie season Westphal had tapped into that and it looked like Cuz was going to be a new Webber. He seemed to go away from that dramatically by the next season. Would love to see it back.
Stats: 19min 5pts (2-7, 1-3, 0-0) 3reb 0ast 0stl 0blk 1TO
Thornton ( INC ) -- I went back and forth whether to INC this grade or not, and finally decided to do it 19 minutes is certainly long enough to grade (D ish), but Marcus's injury took away most of his second half, and came just as he was finally geting going, so nemed enoguh excuse ot call it INC. Got off to a slow start as it was Isaiah and Thomspon in the early going, and Marcus was btoh uninvolved, and ineffective when he did try to step in. But he began the third with a little jumper, and after a few selfhhs forces, had his best and most disastrous play as he pulled up for a three, got fouled on it, the ball swished..and MT landed on the defender's foot and went down holding his ankle. Had to be helped off the floor, did not return, and JJ replaced him and had to take that FT. I've mentioend repeatedly we just can NOT catch a break wiht the missed games. Its not that we've missed so many, its who has missed them all. Our three top scoresd? Cux, Reke, Thornton. Who has missed game after game, been in and out of the lineup all year? Cuz, Reke, Thornton. Makes you want ot shhake your first at The Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Stats: 40min 27pts (10-15, 3-7, 4-5) 4reb 5ast 1stl 0blk 2TO
Thomas ( A ) -- the story of this game for IT was his ability to penetrate at will against the Celtics "defense". Really all night long. Went around Rondo with ease (although Rondo of course may not have been right physically), and Courtney Lee had no chance at all. Once he got around the corner and started in he was often met by the likes of Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass, which is to say he wasn't met at all. Celts never did figure it out, and while he more often used it to score himself then to draw and kick, the scores were so easy in there it was hard to blame him. Added a pair of threes to close the third and open the 4th, and really made it look easy. Defensively, while I don't think this had that much to do with IT, the fact of the matter is both guys (Rondo and Lee) cobined to score zero points, and aside from Terry bombing one three over his head, the Celts weren't able to do any damage taking advantge of him at all.