If you had never watched the Celtics this season before last night, you'd think they were leading the Atlantic division. I'm one of those people who hasn't watched them all season, mostly because they seem from afar like potentially the most uninteresting team to follow in the NBA. Rondo is hurt. Jeff Green is arguably their best player. They're one of those teams that are trying to win games, but not trying to win games, if you know what I mean (wink wink nudge nudge).
Based on this one game (kids, don't try this type of analysis at home), the Celtics are more interesting and somewhat more talented than I gave them credit for. Or maybe it was just the one game against a tired team (did you know the Warriors haven't had more than 1 day of rest going back to December 4?). What I did see was what appeared to be a well-coached team that played hard from end to end for an entire 48 minutes, something that can't always (often? typically?) be said of our own Warriors who tend to go #FullSquad in spurts. Often those spurts are interrupted by #FullSquat which seems to kill any momentum.
#FullSquad gets the lead. Unfortunately #FullSquat will probably give it right back.— EvanZ (@thecity2) January 11, 2014
Actually, might as well address that point right away. Kent Bazemore did not play last night. That is some progress. It means that Mark Jackson did not sub all 5 of his bench players at the same time. From nbawowy, I see that the lineup of Speights, Draymond, Barnes, and Douglas played 4 minutes total and did so with either Klay or Andre. There were 8 possessions with Steph and Andre playing with Barnes, Draymond, and Speights and 5 possessions of that same unit replacing Steph with Klay.
Getting back to the game, itself, Splash Brothers didn't really bring their A-game, although Steph stepped up for the game winning shot obviously (he also got his first dunk of the year!). The only hero of the night offensively in the 47 minutes and 58 seconds before Steph's game winner was Andre Iguodala who looked to create shots for himself more than we've seen, perhaps, the entire season, scoring 22 points on 15 true shooting attempts. He's apparently still not 100% recovered from the hamstring issue. Can't wait until that happens, right?
It wouldn't be an EvanZ post (amirite) without checking in on our 2 favorite sophomores, Draymond Green (#Top6) and Harrison Barnes (#Top7-ish).
Sorry I couldn't resist this level of snark re: Barnes. pic.twitter.com/U08F4WLTPd— EvanZ (@thecity2) January 11, 2014
From now on, if anybody asks, we drafted Draymond #7 and Harrison #35.— EvanZ (@thecity2) January 11, 2014
At this point, it seems like the bottom has dropped out from Harrison Barnes' season. I really do hope that what we're seeing out of him (or not seeing out of him, because he's typically invisible when he's on the court) is due to a lingering problem with turf toe. That's the only explanation that would make me feel somewhat less anxious about the fact that the guy simply doesn't do anything to help us win games most of the time. I love Draymond, as you all know, but lately Barnes has been deferring to Draymond's offense way too much. And when you're deferring to give Draymond more shots, that's saying something. To his credit though, Draymond is becoming quite a bit more aggressive with the ball, on occasion driving to the rim with the vim and vigor that I remember Barnes having at some point in the distant past of last season. I don't know, folks. I said we should trade him while he has some value, but as he inches closer to Age 22 (when I am told he will no longer be 21), that value appears to be continually sinking.
Perhaps, if Jackson begins to add a bit more entropy to his rotations, Barnes will get some of his confidence back. I guess we can only sit back and hope.
One quick note about the end of the game and Jackson subbing Draymond for Bogut with about 5 minutes left. I'm not an X's and O's guy. I understand the logic of keeping Bogut in the game because the Celtics still had fouls to give. However, I would point out that the Warriors have had success going small when the opponent does not have an interior post threat. Sullinger was in the game at that point, but he really didn't do anything offensively from that time until the end of the game. And there's no doubt that 38% free-throw shooter Bogut would have been sent to the line eventually. It was just a matter of time. So what do you guys think about that scenario?
No explanation necessary.
Get some well-deserved rest fellas. Go Niners!