Sunday, January 23, 2011
Updated: January 24, 12:07 PM ET
Celtics score well on midterm grades
By Chris Forsberg
The Boston Celtics zipped through the midseason checkpoint last week, edging the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in Game 41 of the 82-game regular season. Boston then extended its winning streak to five Friday against the Utah Jazz before stumbling Saturday night in falling to the Washington Wizards.
As the Celtics start the downhill portion of their regular-season schedule, an Eastern Conference-best 33-10 record in tow, we hand out midseason marks. For a glimpse at how each player progressed, be sure to check out our first-quarter marks from mid-December.
Delonte West: If the Celtics make no move at the trade deadline in late February, the addition of West (who is pegged to return from a broken wrist next month) could provide the same sort of lift. After serving a 10-game suspension at the start of the season for off-the-court issues, West played a mere five games before fracturing his right wrist in November. He's missed 28 games since then, and a second unit that lacks a true ball handler has missed his combo-guard abilities. Based on his preseason exploits, West should bolster the second unit upon his return.
Avery Bradley: Despite Boston's need for a backup ball handler, Bradley's game remains so raw that the club, even with a lack of bodies to fill the 12-man active roster, optioned the 20-year-old guard to the Maine Red Claws of the Development League in hopes of getting him much-needed game reps. Bradley clearly has potential and the Celtics liked what they saw from his defensive game in limited time this season (14 appearances, 66 minutes), but he needs work to become the sort of combo guard they envisioned when they tabbed him with the 19th overall pick in June's draft. Right now he's more of a 2 than a 1, and yet he shot only 27.3 percent from the floor (6-of-22). Time with Maine should aid his confidence.
Kendrick Perkins: Perkins has not logged any game action yet this season, but he's worked his way back to full-contact practice work as he ramps up to rejoin the team as early as Feb. 4 against the Dallas Mavericks. The mere sight of Perkins running with the fellow starters was enough to buoy Boston's spirits last week. While Rivers suggests that expectations should be kept low as Perkins works his way back into game shape, the positive reviews out of practice are encouraging.
Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter