Denver Nuggets Obliterate Celtics: Post-Game Grades for Boston
Celtics vs. Nuggets: Post-Game Grades for Boston
In a game filled with high-flying dunks and multiple ejections, the Boston Celtics lost their fifth-consecutive game in a blowout fashion yet again, this time at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets crushed the Celtics in Denver by a score of 129-98. The Celtics have now lost the first two games of their west-coast road trip, and the competition isn't getting any easier from this point forward. Out of all of the games Boston plays on this eight-day expedition, the visit to Denver was seen as the Celtics' best opportunity to win. Instead, they were embarrassed and out-hustled for all 48 minutes.
There were a few things to watch for in this contest: The first and most important was the debut of the recently-acquired guard Jerryd Bayless, who was traded for in exchange for Courtney Lee and a second round draft pick. The good news is that while Boston was absolutely manhandled, Bayless looked comfortable and seemed quite capable of playing the backup point guard role, an area that the Celtics need some assistance in.
The second storyline revolves around Jared Sullinger’s recent efficiency issues. Before this game, he was shooting just 26.7 percent through his last five. Tonight, he looked slightly more comfortable out there, but there were some other big issues for Sully (which will be addressed later on).
It’s going to be tough, but the Celtics need to bounce back from the loss and make sure they are mentally ready for the upcoming games. In the next four nights, Boston will take on the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers in their respective arenas. If they come into any of those games without a tough mentality, they may end up 0-5 on the road trip, which would mean eight consecutive losses for Boston.
Crawford struggled tonight. He went through stretches of being aggressive and taking the ball to the hoop, but looked frustrated and even a bit out of control once Denver started to increase their lead into the high 20s. After going 1-for-6 from the field in the first two quarters, Crawford attempted just three shots in the seven minutes he played after halftime, and made two of them. He finished with 10 points and five assists.
Bradley was very aggressive on the defensive end the whole 30 minutes he was out there. He did run into a bit of foul trouble, and totaled five for the game. While he was giving a fantastic effort on defense, he was unable to cool off Ty Lawson, who finished with 19 points and 13 assists. Bradley also struggled a bit with his jump shot, and some of his looks weren't even close. Bradley ended with 12 points on 12 shots.
Green has looked ultra-aggressive lately, especially in the first quarter of the past two games. He attacked the rim in transition and didn't hesitate to jack up the long-ball. With that being said, he was clearly bothered by the energetic front court of the Nuggets, and had his shot blocked multiple times in the fourth quarter alone. He shot 7-19 from the field for 17 points. Although he wasn't overly-efficient, its good to see him play aggressively and confidently.
After attempting just five field goals in Boston's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bass came in to tonight's game with a whole new mentality. He attacked Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson, and was able to draw contact most of the time (even if it wasn't always called.) While he was just 3-of-10 from the field, he got to the line seven times in the first half and finished the evening with 11 free throws attempted. He tallied 15 points to go along with some tough defense against a much bigger Denver frontcourt.
As noted before, Sullinger has struggled tremendously with his efficiency as of late due to an injured left hand. Tonight, he came in and knocked down his first three-pointer since Dec. 21, which was an encouraging sign. He did look like he was in pain while on the bench, but he was clearly able to play through it. Sully picked up a flagrant foul after locking up with J.J. Hickson during an offensive rebound attempt, and picked up another one for an elbow to the face of Kenneth Faried shortly after, which resulted in his first ejection of the season. Sully played well in his limited time on the court, and totaled eight points and seven rebounds in just 14 minutes of action. With that being said, his ejection is no small matter, and isn't acceptable for a player who means as much to the team as he does.
Overall, the bench had an encouraging game. Every player off of Boston's bench scored and as a unit, the reserves put up 36 points. Boston's newest addition, Jerryd Bayless, dished out three assists, stole the ball three times and scored six points. He attempted to control the pace (a very difficult task against Denver's offense) and handled ball well. Unfortunately, he shot just 3-for-11 from the field. Vitor Faverani was the Celtics' top player off the bench, and finished with 10 points and five rebounds in just 14 minutes.