Friday, December 21, 2012

Pierce's 40 Pushes Celts Past Cavs

The Celtics bounced back strong from their three losses with a 103-91 victory against Cleveland at home on Wednesday night. Paul Pierce played a huge role finishing with a season high 40 points while also tallying eight boards and five assists. Here was what Pierce had to say about his performance; "I feel like the last few games I've been shooting the ball a lot better, three or four games now. I'm really coming along where I'm starting to get into a good groove offensively. The way my shot's going, picking my spots. So even before tonight I felt good." Rajon Rondo also chipped in 20 points, and Cleveland was led by Kyrie Irving and Tyler Zeller (made his first career start) with 22 and 20 points respectively. Boston made a couple shifts in the starting lineup, reinserting Jason Terry for Courtney Lee, and surprisingly brining Jason Collins in to start at center (moving KG to the 4) in an attempt to fix the rebounding/size problem the Celtics have battled all year. Collins fouled out in 23 minutes with a point, two rebounds, a block and a steal. 
It was an exciting night to be in the building as a fan while Pierce took us back in the time machine putting up his 40 points on 13-for-16 shooting (6-for-7 from downtown and perfect on his eight free throw attempts). But lets take a step back and look at this one for a second. Pierce very well may go the rest of the season without having another game like this, so it certainly is not something we can rely on. Anderson Varejao was out for the Cavs, a player that this rebounding challenged team would have had a miserable time keeping up with. The Cavs were able to go on a 17-0 run in the second half before Boston had to bring Pierce back in to close out the game. Despite winning, there are a LOT of things Boston has to work on to have the type of season they hope for. The bench was awful again with 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE! Besides staying healthy, here are the 3 things that must happen in Boston if this team will make a playoff push. 

1. Avery Bradley has to return in early January and make a significant impact on defense and fast break points. He is the perfect backcourt mate for Rondo and they need to gel again like they did last season.

2. Danny Ainge has to make a move to bring another active big man to the roster. Kevin Garnett is still giving everything he has and you have to tip your cap to how he holds down the defense. But KG plays only 25-30 minutes a night and the wheels fall off every time he is on the bench. Chris Wilcox has been the teams next best big and has been in and out of the lineup. Whoever is brought in needs to be able to defend and rebound, good offense would be a bonus. The three top names floating around: Varejao (would be perfect), Marcin Gortat, and Kenyon Martin.

3. Rondo has to step up and truly be the leader of this team. Pierce and Garnett both refer to Rondo as the leader, he has to accept that role. Pierce and Garnett's scoring is down and the bench isn't picking it up like they were suppose to. Rondo must become a 25 PPG player while maintaining his assist numbers. Not that it will be easy for him to do, but it is the player that he needs to become if he is going to be the man on this team, and the piece Ainge builds around in the future. 

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