FINAL: Celtics 120 - Magic 105
The Celtics picked up their fourth win of the season - and fourth in a row - at home tonight against the Orlando Magic. With the win, the Celtics are at the .500 mark for the first time in 2013-14.
Jordan Crawford is playing fantastic basketball
Raise your hand if you're not surprised by Jordan Crawford's caliber of play so far this season.
If you raised your hand, you're lying.
Crawford has performed admirably while playing the point guard position for the Celtics this year and tonight was no different. The fourth year pro put together an excellent first half, finishing with 12 points (5/7 FG), four rebounds, and six assists in about 17 minutes of floor time.
The numbers don't tell the whole story, though. Crawford appears to have picked up on all the little nuances that go into being an effective floor general. He was setting up his teammates in myriad ways, whether it be off drive-and-kick penetration, in the pick-and-roll, or finding cutters going back door on the Magic defense. No matter what the scenario, Crawford just simply seemed to make the right decisions at the right time.
There is one play that stands out to me, however. Late in the first quarter the Celtics were running a 3-on-1 fast break with Avery Bradley leading the way down court. Bradley left it for Crawford, the trailer on the play, for a wide open three. But instead of jacking up the triple like he most likely would have last year, Crawford zipped a pass into Kelly Olynyk who finished the play with an uncontested lay-in at the rim.
It's things like that - however little they may be - that display the maturation Crawford's game has undergone between this year and last. For what it's worth, Crawford finished tonight's game with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists. Not bad for a guy who's been labeled a high-volume, and inefficient, scorer over the course of his young career.
Avery Bradley finds his hot spot
Over the past year or two, Celtics fans have been calling for the Avery Bradley that knocked down 40 percent of his threes during the 2011-12 season. Instead, Bradley has contributed to the offense with his efficient mid-range jumpers, scoring 14 of his 24 points between 16 and 23 feet.
Perhaps what has made Bradley so successful from the aforementioned range is that those looks are coming through the flow of the offense. Rather than giving it to Bradley in the corner as the shot clock winds down as in years past, Brad Stevens has been running a lot of on and off-ball screens for the defensive standout. As a result, Bradley has been given the chance to get some easy points and he's making the most of his opportunities.
If the Celtics can consistently get the ball to Bradley in these sets and if Bradley can continue to capitalize, then the young guard's confidence should reach an all-time high.
Celtics are the epitome of a basketball TEAM
Through these first eight games of the season, the Celtics have averaged 20-plus assists in wins as opposed to just 14 in losses.
It's clear that this team is at it's best when everyone gets involved in the offense.
In fact, in tonight's win, all ten players that got into the game scored at least once and seven of those same ten recorded at least one assist. This team is playing very unselfish basketball right now and it's paying off.