Fast Break: Avery Bradley, Celtics can’t hold off Pelicans
|01.03.14 at 10:10 pm ET|
In an ugly but entertaining game, Avery Bradley‘s contested go-ahead layup attempt ricocheted off the rim in the final seconds against the Pelicans, and — after a pair of Brian Roberts free throws — Jared Sullinger‘s game-tying 3-piont attempt sailed wide, as the Celtics fell short against New Orleans at home, 95-92.
The Celtics (13-20) lost their second game in as many nights and third straight — a killer for a team headed on a five-game-in-seven-nights West Coast trip against the Thunder, Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors and Nuggets on Sunday.
Bradley (22 points) led the Celtics in scoring while Sullinger (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (16 points, 11 rebounds) each notched double-doubles. Jeff Green (16 points) also reached double figures.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Cold start: Whether it was the frigid temperatures, the same-day trip from Chicago or just plain stagnant offense, the Celtics scored just 13 points in the first 10 minutes against a team that allowed 108.9 points per 100 possessions entering the game. Bradley scored seven points (3-5 FG) in that stretch, but his Celtics teammates scored only six (3-11 FG) — including a zero-point, zero-rebound start for the ailing Sullinger.
The Stiemer: Battling a knee injury, old friend Greg Stiemsma hadn’t scored in double figures all season — until his glorious return to Boston. No Stiemboat whistle sounded in his honor, but the 7-footer who found his way back into the NBA under Kevin Garnett‘s tutelage scored 12 points on seven shots in 19 big minutes off the bench.
Ryan Anderson: In a scary moment that deserves mention, the Garden crowd sat in silence despite a 75-73 C’s lead early in the fourth, as Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson lay motionless on the floor following a head-to-head collision with Gerald Wallace. Considering all that Anderson’s been through already this season, it’s no wonder every player on both sides of the ball stood in support as paramedics carted him off in a neck brace on a stretcher. He was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a cervical stinger.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Two-way Avery: Remarkably, Bradley continues to state his case as the Celtics‘ best weapon on both sides of the ball. A returning All-Defensive selection, his prowess on that end is indisputable, and his shooting has been nothing short of stellar. He entered the game shooting 42 percent on corner 3-pointers, 45 percent on midrange jumpers and 56 percent at the rim (up from sub-50% earlier in the season), and Friday night’s effort (7-15 FG, 4-6 3P) only helped his cause.
Mega Bass: Since totaling a trio of double-doubles in a six-game span in mid-December, Bass slumped to averages of 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over his previous four games, but the broad-shouldered big man bounced back with his fourth double-double of the season against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Likewise, Sullinger shook off the effects of his hand injury to notch his second straight double-double.
Board room: The Pelicans are one of 14 teams out-rebounding their opponents, but the Celtics did a nice job keeping their bigs at bay, grabbing 22 offensive boards and scoring 28 second-chance points. Kris Humphries (7 points, 12 rebounds), Bass and Sullinger all reached double figures on the glass and combined for 21 offensive boards, as the Celtics out-boarded the Pelicans, 49-45.