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After the sloppy play featured in the second half of the series opener, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics will look to redeem themselves in Game 2 this evening at MSG. Turnovers plagued the Celtics late in Game 1 but the atrocious efforts put forth by the bench are what ultimately did them in. While Carmelo Anthony led the way with 36 points, it was the New York Knicks bench that embarrassed Boston, outscoring Cs reserves 33-4.

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If there's anything we learned from the first contest it's that Doc Rivers is going to need a heck of a lot more from the guys sitting to his left. Of the eight potential subs, Rivers only played three. Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, and Jason Terry had 49 minutes of floor time between them and combined for 4 points on 0% shooting from the field - Lee went 4/4 from the free throw line - 6 rebounds, and 0 assists. This production, or lack there of, is from what was supposed to be one of the deepest benches in the Association entering the 2012-13 campaign. 

Courtney Lee hasn't been himself all season long and neither has Jason Terry. I recall Lee tweeting on Christmas Day, "All I want for Christmas is my jump shot back." Pretty pathetic if you ask me. Lee was brought aboard to play the prototypical "3 and D" role. Don't get me wrong, the "D" has been there for a good part of his time in a Celtics uniform but I think he forgot the "3" portion back in Houston. For the season, Lee is knocking down his treys at a 37% clip which is well below his 40% from last year, 41% in 2010-11, and 40% in his rookie year, 2008-09. Whats more, the four year pro attempted at least 200 or more threes in the seasons he shot at that 40% rate. This year, however, Lee took just 156 jumpers from long distance en route to a 37% conversion rate. Courtney Lee might not have the smoothest stroke in the world but the numbers prove he's capable and the Celtics could use his shooting "prowess" more than ever in these playoffs. 

As far as Jason Terry is concerned, I've taken the liberty to label him this year's biggest disappointment. When Danny Ainge signed Terry in the offseason the Celtics faithful were more than just excited. The idea of having the former Sixth Man of the Year gave the fans reason to think we could make a run at the title. Unfortunately, the JET has been awful in his first year as a Boston Celtic. 

I refuse to believe his woes have anything to do with old age. In his final season with the Dallas Mavericks, Terry averaged 15.7 points a game, a number that has since shrunk to 10.1 in 2012-13. While the shooting percentages are right in line with his career clips, he still isn't the same Jason Terry that we all used to know. This is a guy that's just three years removed from being dubbed the best bench player in all of basketball. In 2009, Terry averaged nearly 20 points per game and shot 46% from the floor. Where that Jason Terry is, who knows? But if he somehow surfaced tonight and beyond, Boston would be in pretty good shape. 

Now for Jordan Crawford, at this point I'm not even sure what to think about him. I know he can score but he's petrified to do so in green and white. ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg quoted Crawford as saying, "I was trying to make sure I made my first shot." I really hope that Doc Rivers caught wind of this statement and talked some sense into the young kid from Xavier. Rivers has reiterated time and time again that he wants "Steez" to shoot the ball, that's what he's here for so he needs to do what the team asks of him. Besides, it's hard to make sure you nail your first shot if you don't even take one. If he can average 9.1 points in 27 regular season games for Boston, why can't he up that number to around 12-15 in the playoffs? After all, he's only a point behind Jason Terry. Shoot the basketball Jordan!!!

Bottom Line

Tonight, the Celtics should look to get both Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass more involved offensively. The two bigs had 12 points between them with the majority coming from KG. However, 8 points isn't enough for the future Hall of Famer and he should have no problem in the post against both Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin if given the opportunity. Garnett still has quick feet on the block and that fade away jumper of his is virtually unblockable. From the opening tip to the final buzzer, I'd like to see Boston play inside-out. If KG can draw double teams it opens up plenty of open looks for this offense, especially since he is an above average passer for a guy at his position. In terms of Brandon Bass, I think getting him a dunk or two early in the game will fuel his confidence. Bass had been struggling with his jumper for a while but in the last two weeks or so of the regular season, it's been nearly as automatic as it was last year. 

Furthermore, solid and more consistent performances from Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, and Jeff Green are warranted. While all three had good outings, they fell apart towards the end of the contest. The trio needs to be on top of their respective games, whether it be Bradley hitting his corner threes, Pierce running the offense from the top of the key, or Green finishing at the bucket, it doesn't matter. Hopefully the bench picks up the slack, and Doc might have to play around a little bit to make that happen. The bottom line is that all of this has to get done one way or another. 

 


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