Irish Coffee: Celtics weekly report card, part deux
|01.20.12 at 2:11 pm ET|
Father Red, for it’s been two weeks since my last report card. As I’ve mentioned before, with 66 games crammed into 17 weeks, each seven-day stretch of this NBA season takes on the importance of an NFL week. As NFL writers are won’t to do, we’ll continue our (bi)weekly series of Celtics report cards. Since last marking period, when the Celtics had just won four straight, Doc Rivers and Co. have endured a five-game losing streak snapped Wednesday night against the mighty Raptors. That being said, let’s get to the grades.
MICKAEL PIETRUS: A
Last Grade: N/A
The Celtics desperately needed scoring and defense off the bench, and Pietrus has filled both roles better than cream fills a Hostess cupcake. Since debuting against the Mavericks, he’s averaged 8.2 points on 41 percent from beyond the arc in addition to snagging four steals against zero turnovers. In his last two games, he’s scored 26 points (7-13 3P), culminating in his first Celtics win and his rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.”
KEVIN GARNETT: B+
Last Grade: A-
Rivers wanted Garnett to take more shots, and KG listened, attempting 19 field goals in consecutive games. It worked one night (21 points at Pacers) and failed another (12 points vs. Thunder), which seems to be a running theme for Garnett 2.0, who just doesn’t have the same lift as the Timberwolves prototype. In all other aspects of his game, he’s lived up to his self-proclaimed “X-factor” role: “Whatever you need me to do, I’m gonna do.”
RAJON RONDO: B+
Last Grade: A-
Rondo eclipsed 10 assists in five of his first nine games but just once in his last six, and he committed four turnovers in four straight games — all losses. As a result, Rondo’s 9.4 assists per game rank second in the league (behind Friday’s opponent, Steve Nash‘s 10.1) but he’s only 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4-1) behind guys like Derek Fisher and D.J. Augustin. The C’s point guard has made a concerted effort to get to the basket more often this season, attempting almost two more field goals per game at the rim and scoring five more points per game, but that’s also led to a few scary moments, including a wrist injury that could keep him out against the Suns.
RAY ALLEN: B
Last Grade: A
While he’s still draining 3-pointers at a remarkable rate — 56 percent for the season — his production has tailed off since averaging 18 points through his first nine games. He hasn’t scored more than seven points in each of his last three games. Perhaps playing just 28 minutes in the blowout of the Raptors on Wednesday night after averaging almost 40 in his previous three games might put some pep back in his step.
JERMAINE O’NEAL: B
Last Grade: C-
There’s some truth to O’Neal’s soliloquy earlier this week about judging him on his role as defender and rebounder rather than offensive scorer. Perhaps the most surprising JO statistic so far: He’s played at least 20 minutes in each of the C’s past six games. That stretch has included two double-digit rebounding nights (and two other seven-rebound nights) and a total of 11 blocks. Offensively, he did not commit a turnover in five of those games, but he shot just 38 percent — improved by 9-of-16 shooting in last two games.
BRANDON BASS: B-
Last Grade: A+
After starting the season shooting 55 percent from the field, Bass is making just 38 percent of his attempts over the last six games. While he’s reached double digits in three of his last four outings, the “No Pass” Bass mantra is losing some of its luster as a result of poor shot selection. And his rebounding has been a bit inconsistent, as evidenced by his one board in 22 minutes against the Thunder. Still, he’s beginning to contribute in other aspects of the game (Since Jan. 6: five assists, five blocks, three steals).
PAUL PIERCE: C
Last Grade: B+
Even Pierce admits he’s playing himself into game shape after missing most of training camp with a heel injury. I guess that explains his 34 percent shooting and 17 turnovers in the last six games. Pierce returned to vintage Truth form as the best Celtics player on the floor in the loss to the Thunder while trade rumors emerged earlier this week. The C’s desperately need their captain’s consistent efficiency if they expect to contend.E’TWAUN MOORE: C
Last Grade: D+
Moore has gobbled up minutes left by Dooling’s absence, playing 20, 8 and 17 minutes in his last three games. He compiled six assists and only one turnover in that span, but after scoring seven points on 3-of-7 shooting in Indiana he finished scoreless on seven total shots against the Thunder and Raptors. Inconsistency is expected, but the fact that a late second-round pick is contributing minutes and taking care of the ball this early is a plus.
GREG STIEMSMA: C-
Last Grade: A-
The Stiemroller train has slowed to a halt after his breakout 13-point, seven-rebound effort against the Wizards more than two weeks ago. Before making a bucket against the Raptors on Wednesday, he went six games without attempting a field goal. Stiemsma continues to average a block once every 6.8 minutes he’s on the floor and grab 15.6 percent of the available rebounds, but picking up the oft complicated Celtics schemes seems to be catching up to a sometimes lost Stiemer (understandably).
AVERY BRADLEY: C-
Last Grade: C
At least Bradley hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer in the last four games — even though one of those was a DNP/coach’s decision against the Thunder — because his 1-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc so far this season doesn’t even begin to explain how poor his long-range shooting has been. And for all the positives about his defensive ability, he has committed more turnovers in the past six games (3) than he’s forced (1).JAJUAN JOHNSON: D-
Last Grade: F
Here are Johnson’s last six games: 1 MIN, Did Not Dress, 1 MIN, 3 MIN, Did Not Play (Coach’s Decision) and 6 MIN. It’s got to be tough for him to see his college teammate Moore, who was taken 28 picks later in the draft, earn minutes in Dooling’s absence when he can’t play in Wilcox’s stead, especially when someone like Knicks second-round pick Josh Harrellson is producing 5.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.6 minutes a night. While he has totaled nine points and five rebounds in 10 minutes over his last three appearances, it’s all come in garbage time.
MARQUIS DANIELS: F
Last Grade: D+
It’s gotten to the point where there has to be some residual effects from his spinal cord injury last season, even if it’s strictly mental, as Daniels is shooting just 27 percent from the floor. His last six games have included two DNPs and a garbage minute against the Bulls. The fact his four-point night against the Thunder got people excited shows just how far Daniels’ stock has fallen.
SASHA PAVLOVIC: F
Last Grade: D-
Since the arrival of Pietrus, the Celtics have no use for Pavlovic, as his five consecutive DNPs suggest. Can you believe he started three games for the C’s this season?
KEYON DOOLING: INC
Last Grade: B
Dooling had a pair of good shooting nights in back-to-back home games against the Pacers and Mavericks (6-8 FG) but committed five turnovers against only one assist before suffering a right knee injury that has kept him out of the last four games. After not practicing Thursday, he’s not expected to play Friday night, leaving Bradley and Moore as the lone bench ballhandlers.
CHRIS WILCOX: INC
Last Grade: D
Even before a left calf injury that’s kept him out of the last three games, Wilcox wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire (11 total minutes over the three previous games), although he was also recovering from a left shoulder injury at that point. When the Celtics sat down to allocate their $3 million mini mid-level exception this offseason, they had to expect more than an average of 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in seven of the first 13 games for that money.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)
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