Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston defeated the New Jersey Nets, 89-70, on Wednesday night in Boston, MA.
Talk about a turnaround. For 24 minutes, the Boston Celtics looked pretty bad -- and that's sugar coating it. With no Ray Allen in hand, the Celtics trailed a one-win Nets team, 35-34, after one. Not one quarter. One half. Yeah, it wasn't pretty.
Boston shot 39.4 percent from the field (13-for-33) and surrendered 15 points to rookie Marshon Brooks, a product of the Providence Friars. It was not looking good for the C's, who had won three in a row heading into Wednesday's tilt.
In the second half, it was a much different story.
The C's cleaned the Nets' clock in the third quarter, outscoring them 29-12. New Jersey looked better in the fourth quarter, but Boston was able to hold onto the lead (outscoring the Nets, 26-23, in the quarter) to capture their fourth straight win.
Here's what it all came down to for the Celtics.
NO RAY ALLEN? NO PROBLEM FOR CELTICS (WEDNESDAY, AT LEAST)
Ray Allen fought through illness to score a team-high 27 points in the Celtics' win over the Wizards on Monday, resulting in me bestowing the title of "The Machine" on the game's greatest shooter of all time. Unfortunately, though, he's human, as his absence proved on Wednesday night. Allen woke up feeling lousy while dealing with cold/flu like symptoms, and Celtics head coach Doc Rivers told him not to show up unless he felt better. He never showed up. What would the Celtics do without their leading scorer (averaging 20 PPG)? Why, they'd go to The Truth, of course. Paul Pierce played one of his better games of the season, scoring a game-high 24 points while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists. That in itself isn't really a surprise -- come on, he's Paul Pierce. Still, with Allen out, one would think the Nets would key in on Pierce and make sure he can't beat them. Well, they didn't, and they lost because of it.
BRANDON BASS CONTINUES TO BE, WELL, AMAZING OFF THE BENCH
Do I hear Sixth Man of the Year honors knocking on the door? If Brandon Bass keeps up this pace, then he may be a shoe in for one of the league's top postseason awards. Bass isn't thinking about that himself, telling me that he's just focused on being the best he can be. So far, so good. Bass had another terrific effort on Wednesday, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds (there was even ONE assists for No Pass Bass!). Through seven games, the Bass Master (as coined by ESPN Boston's Tom Lakin) has averaged 14 points and 6.6 rebounds. Against the Nets, Bass had 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Bass may not have a starting role (at least for now), but he provides a much-needed boost off the bench. If he continues to be effective, he could find himself in the All-Star game. The sky's the limit.
AVERY BRADLEY FINDS HIS OFFENSE (FINALLY)
For the first time this season, and possibly ever, Avery Bradley showed a glimpse of what he could be. Bradley scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and had two steals and two assists in 23 minutes for the Celtics on Wednesday night. Similar to Rajon Rondo, Bradley is a quality defender but has struggled to find his offense. Bradley has drawn high praise from Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, who really believes in him and thinks he could be something special. If Bradley can find a way to become productive on the offensive end, it will go a long way towards helping the Celtics off the bench. Not to mention, his own career. Bradley only received so many minutes on Wednesday due to the absence of Allen, but he certainly helped his own cause.
BOTTOM LINE: Seven games in, we've already seen three Celtics teams. We've seen the one that falls behind early and makes a late push, we've seen a team that falls behind and can't get back up and finally, we've seen the team that overcomes adversity and finishes off opponents. Over the last four teams, we've seen the latter. As long as Boston continues to fight through the tough times, good things will come of it.
NEXT UP: Boston has won three straight home games, but all against subpar opponents in the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and the Nets. Now, they'll face a real test at home against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at TD Garden in search of their fifth straight victory.