On the night of Avery Bradley’s return to Boston, his team was able to stifle the Celtics with the help of his teammates of the Detroit Pistons. Bradley played great defense all night per usual and the Pistons were able to keep it close for most the game while pulling away at the end. Speaking of Avery and his teammates lets talk about Andre Drummond.
-Before this season, Andre Drummond held the league record for the worst free throw percentage of ALL TIME at just below 40%. Pretty awful. Over the offseason he worked on free throw form and the results have been pretty remarkable for a guy his size. Typically when you hear about a big guy like this changing his free throw routine, rarely do you ever see actual results (example A, Dwight Howard). With Drummond’s new and improved FT’s he has been able to shoot at a 60% clip this year so far. Tonight was no different as he 6 of 8 from the line. This really opens his game up as he no longer needs to be afraid to back guys down and have the fear of being fouled. Because of this he was able to reach his full monster potential. He was able to put up 26 points on 10-12 shooting and grab 22 rebounds, which is just crazy.
-I could go on and on about Drummond, but to put it bluntly, there are not many guys in the league that can guard him if he is able to hit his free throws. The Celtics best bet is to throw Aron Baynes at him, but Drummond is MUCH more athletic than him and Coach Stevens did not see it to be a good matchup for him tonight, as he only played 13 minutes. I will be interested to see how they adjust to him next time the two teams play. (Side note, this dude needs to shave his chest hair for the love of GOD).
-I know these are usually Celtics focused blogs and I will get to them, but first I need to continue to talk about what the Pistons did. It is hard to win games in the NBA when freaking Tobias Harris is scoring 31 on you. I mean, the guy looked like 2006 Paul Pierce out there. He couldn’t miss. Props to him for playing like that and I know he really has improved his game this year, but I can’t see J. Cole’s Twin putting up those numbers every night if I’m being honest, so that hurts that he decided to do that tonight.
-Along with those two, Avery Bradley as aforementioned was a pest on defense. This guy is fun as hell to watch when he is on your team but when your team is playing him, my God is it annoying. He was jamming Kyrie all night and was able to hold him to 6-16 shooting for 18 points. Kyrie did have 9 assists to go with that but he also had 6 turnovers to go with that. Not exactly ideal stuff for Irving.
-While on the topic of Kyrie, tonight was another game that in this season I thought he was dribbling too much at times. There is definitely times when he should dribble and take his guy as he probably has the best handles in the NBA. When Kyrie is on, he is on and that wasn’t really the case tonight. All too often tonight it seemed as though the ball movement was stagnant and I felt as though more points (I know, I know they scored 108) could have been come by if the there was more passing. However, I will give Kyrie a pass for tonight, as he is going against Avery Bradley, who he has personally said before that he out of everyone in the NBA, guards him the best.
– I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the game Marcus Smart had. After going 7/8 the other night in a win against Indiana, he followed it up by going 8/13 and 6/9 from 3 for a total of 23 points. This guy is the exact definition of a streaky shooter (although he is usually not great). He can go 1/10 one game, 2/13 the next game, and then just have nights like these where he can’t miss. I think it says a lot about his confidence that he continues to huck it even when it isn’t hitting. This is an odd situation for the Celtics as if he’s not hitting, he’s hurting the offense. If he is hitting though, which he will do every once in a while, he keeps the opposing teams defense honest and can really open things up for the team. I will live and die by Smart’s shooting and I’m completely fine with that.
-Tonight was a pretty average night overall from the rest of the team. Al had an okay stat line of 11/5/5, but again is not a guy you can line up against someone like Drummond. Theis put up 12 on 4-4 shooting but also struggled with the BIG men as he is pretty lanky and only 6’9″, even though he does have Mr. Fantastic Arms.
-Along with that, Morris had some more questionable shot selection (why do you need the guy in your face? move the damn ball), Brown and Tatum didn’t exactly light it up, and the second unit struggled. The Pistons are a legit team at 13-6 now and 2nd in the East. I really hope we do not have to see them in the playoffs as they are tough matchup for Boston through and through.
-The Celts still sit at 18-4 which happens to be the best record in the NBA (NOT BAD). So here is to a winning and defensed filled future with more wins in the mix. That’s all for now. Bring in the dancing lobsters.