Celtics Player Report Card: Boston toughs its way to 98 – 92 road win over Cavs

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The Boston Celtics are clearly a defensive juggernaut when it comes to their team identity, which was born out in another data point in the Celtics’ 98 – 92 road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

It’s a good thing they are, given the team struggled mightily to score in this contest, not that you would blame them. A cursory look up and down the roster reveals a team assembled with defense in mind, and while there have been bumps in the road — such as the first meeting with the Cavs — the team has finally settled into its defensive personality with mostly positive results.

Let’s take a more granular look at the players playing heavy minutes in Boston’s most recent win.

Grant Williams

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Williams continues to turn in mostly solid play when his number is called, transitioning back from a starting role to the bench, and playing as well or better while doing it.

The Tennessee product continues to hit open jumpers when he gets them, and provided key offense in so doing with 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from deep for 11 points and 4 rebounds.

Grade: B-

Josh Richardson

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The team’s other Tennessee product also had a solid game off of the bench, putting up 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks with effective defense for the team.

It’s refreshing to see this team have multiple options off of the bench capable of contributing regularly. Is it asking too much for them to scale their production up, though?

Grade: B-

Robert Williams III

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Timelord started out a solid if not overwhelming force on the glass, pulling down 6 boards in the first half while uncharacteristically missing both his shot attempts.

Pain in his knee kept him from returning for the second, so we’re going to have to suspend judgment of his outing here, even if it was mostly a positive one.

Grade: Incomplete

Al Horford

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Horford played the least minutes of starters appearing in both halves, but was by far the most efficient and perhaps also impactful at 17 points and 9 boards.

There were of course a few glaring mistakes made, but for the most part, this game was among the Gator alum’s best of the season.

Grade: A-

Dennis Schroder

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It took the German point guard some time to get his game going, but Schroder came through with some key makes late in the fourth that it is questionable whether the Celtics would have won without them.

He is still fouling and turning the ball over more than he should (7 combined in 34 minutes of playing time), but this was a relatively good game for him on that front.

Grade: C+

Jayson Tatum

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He’s still attempting too many high percentage shots (see: ISO fadeaways) for a player as deeply in a slump as he is, and ought to crash the cup more than he has.

But he is trending in that direction, and got the line 7 times — making them all — which is a positive development. He’s also passing out of double-teams faster and more decisively, which is also a plus.

Grade: B-

Marcus Smart

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Even though he only shot 1-of-5 from 3, this was one of Smart-s better games of the season, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

He shot 6-of-13 overall, and logged 14 points, 4 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals with a slightly high 3 turnovers and no fouls while staying engaged on defense all game long, anchoring the team on that end of the court.

Grade: B

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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