Good, Bad, Ugly: Second unit lifts Celtics

Good, Bad, Ugly: Second unit lifts Celtics
December 13, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON — In the closing seconds of Boston's 90-86 win over the New York Knicks, there were a slew of key plays made by the starters.

But this win was due in large part to the play of the second unit.

It's easy to lock in on Courtney Lee's 18 points off the bench while shooting a ridiculously efficient 6-for-8 from the field.

But the second unit's contributions went much deeper than that.

"It made it look like, in the first half, they were going to give us a nice cushion," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "They did such a great job you wanted to stay with them."

Down the stretch, Stevens did to some extent.

Jared Sullinger was a dominant force for long stretches of the night, but Stevens elected to give Vitor Faverani major minutes in the fourth.

In fact, Faverani played more minutes (just under 11) in the fourth than any other Celtics player.

Stevens on the reasoning behind his decision to go with Faverani ahead of Sullinger in the final few minutes of the game: "All gut, no math or science behind that one. That was just one of those lucky things that happened the right way."

It was indeed that kind of game for the Boston Celtics that was far from perfect, but was perfectly played out when the game was on the line.

And with that, we have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the Celtic's win over New York.

The Good

Jared Sullinger

In the first half, Sullinger was an unstoppable force around the basket with 17 points and six rebounds. The Knicks made some adjustments in the second half and the Celtics didn't seem as focused on working the ball inside-out as much, which factored in the Knicks' rally. Still, Sullinger set the tone of the with his brute force around the basket and finished with 19 points and six rebounds.

Courtney Lee

Boston needed a scoring spark off the bench and Lee came up with a monster of a game. He finished with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting which helped compensate what was an off night shooting for Boston's starting backcourt.

The Bad

Jordan Crawford

He made some really nice assists, but there's no excuse for someone who shoots the ball as well as he does to have a night like the one he had on Friday. He finished with two points, but missed all eight of his shots from the field.

The Ugly

Turnovers

To rack up 16 turnovers in itself isn't bad, but the bigger problem was their timing and the amount of points they generated for the Knicks.

Boston's worst quarter of the night was third. Not only did Boston shoot a less-than-stellar 33 percent from the field, but the third quarter is when five of their 16 turnovers were committed.

Poor shooting plus lots of turnovers is a toxic combination that put the Celtics into a hole that they were very fortunate to climb out of on Friday.