If the Boston Celtics are going to get anywhere this season, which means beyond a first round berth in the NBA playoffs, it’s going to be up to guys like Jeff Green and Brandon Bass to start playing like NBA stars or close to that, instead of hoping Paul Pierce plays like it’s five years ago while Kevin Garnett somehow miraculously heals from his injury problems and most of all, old age.
Doc Rivers has been playing warm-cold with his players this season, sometimes going off on them after losing streaks, when earlier in the year he thought he still has the kind of team capable of making a difference in the way the East is going to look. But the Celtics aren’t that good, especially in their depleted, worn down state of now, beating the Cavs 93-92 to stop a five-game losing streak.
Paul Pierce finished with 19 points, but the surprising contribution came from Jeff Green (21 points, averaging 17 over the last 10 games) and Brandon Bass, maybe the most disappointing Celtic this season, adding 22, while averaging 8.1 points during the season so far. The Celtics opened and finished strongly, with a lot of bad basketball in between. What can you expect when there’s no real point guard on the floor, and the most important player from the bench, Jason Terry, goes on a bad 2-7 night, scoring only 5 points.
So is Jeff Green to go-to-guy now? Nope, but he might be the most important player the Celtics have to rely on in their weakened state. There aren’t that many players who can create points and get hot fast from what Rivers has to work with. Green, going through some sort of Renaissance season after getting over his health issues, might be a little bit more than the flop everyone seemed convinced he is after arriving from Oklahoma City.
The Celtics still need Pierce to be the glue and the main executor on offense, and getting Kevin Garnett, for his defensive ability and leadership is a must if they want this season to extend into May, but things aren’t that dark looking ahead, even if there’s no real doubt that this Celtics group that began in 2007 with intent on dominating the NBA is close to running its course.