NEW YORK — What we saw Sunday was the good and the bad of the Celtics. They showed all of their strengths and weaknesses. They are a team that is difficult to beat because they are relentless. Their star power allows for many options in crunch time because three — and maybe four — players can take the potential winning shot and they are a beautiful team to watch when they are playing defense and hitting 3-pointers.
We also saw the Celtics look old and slow. Rasheed Wallace looks as if his best days are far behind him. Rajon Rondo still can’t consistently hit jump shots and free throws and the bench is sometimes nonexistent. Boston has a lot to work to do to become an elite team, like a number of so-called contenders in the league.
But Kevin Garnett’s thousands of hours of practice on his perimeter jump shot paid off with his smooth, buzzer-beating jumper that sealed a 107-105 overtime win in one of the more exciting games this season.
A look at how the Celtics performed:
Kevin Garnett — Started out 1 for 10 from the field but hit 3 of his final 5, including the game-winner. His two offensive fouls could be a concern and scouts have noticed he is not playing at near the level before the injury.
Paul Pierce — He was on Sunday afternoon, scoring a season-high 33 points, but he added 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks. He scored a bucket every time the Celtics needed one. And it was his decision to pass to Garnett for the winner after drawing a double team.
Kendrick Perkins — A solid night — 16 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks — dealing with Eddy Curry and David Lee. He should get more love for this effort, but the kudos go to Garnett and Pierce.
Ray Allen — His 3-point shooting was off and he missed several shots that could have put the Celtics comfortably ahead. He also had four turnovers and just one assist. Needs to do more when he is not scoring.
Rajon Rondo — His new free-throw motion was interesting because he started off with two makes and then missed six of his next eight. But 10 assists and 9 rebounds make up for that. Maybe he will take being pulled out during critical plays as an insult and work harder on his shooting.
Eddie House — Started off strong but didn’t play much in the second half. Like Allen, needs to do more when he isn’t scoring.
Rasheed Wallace — His slump is definitely in his head and he needs to hit a big 3-pointer to lift his spirits. But we are definitely seeing the Rasheed of his later years in Detroit, when he turned into an ineffective distraction.
Shelden Williams — Didn’t do much in his nine minutes and sat the whole second half. He won’t be playing much in fast-paced games.
Marquis Daniels –What happened to Daniels playing point guard? That hasn’t happened of late and he is serving as a backup to Pierce.
Brian Scalabrine — Played hard for his 11 minutes and hit one 3-pointer. But defensively he can be a liability against bigger forwards.