Celtics player grades: Boston gets first win for Ime Udoka at Houston Rockets (10/25)




 

The Boston Celtics have their first win of the 2021-22 NBA season and of new head coach Ime Udoka's tenure, rightfully celebrated postgame with an unexpected shower for said new head coach.

But that doesn't mean we just forget about the win and move on - there's plenty to like (and dislike) about how the Celtics got back in the win column on the road in Texas on Sunday evening. As will be our custom this season, we will take a look at how seven players performed, drawn from those who impacted the game most - negatively or positively - on Boston's roster for the game in question.

So with that said, let's hand out some assessments for this inaugural victory for the Celtics.

Payton Pritchard - 6 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists

 

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Fast PP had a very solid game, shooting an efficient 40% from 3 and making a handful of assists despite playing in a mask due to his nasal fracture.

The Oregon product will make a case for a bigger role than perhaps some pricier options currently getting more run if he keeps it up.

Grade: B

Grant Williams - 18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists

 

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Despite a number of fans clamoring for his exit in the offseason, Williams has filled exactly the role needed of him this season while shooting an absurd 69.2% from 3.

That will settle down, but it's clear that the Tennessee product is morphing into a valuable role player for this team with flashes of an upside his detractors clearly never imagined.

Grade: A-

Robert Williams III - 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block

 

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Timelord had a very underwhelming night in a starting role for Boston, and if you didn't watch the game, you'd have thought it a disaster.

But his defense was solid with no fouls or turnovers in 28 minutes of floor time, which is a better baseline than it might seem for a casual fan even if he clearly needs to balance between reckless abandon and this kind of game.

Grade: C-

Marcus Smart - 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals

 

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Another player who looks bad on his stat line alone, Smart actually had a solid and well-rounded performance mostly free of the sort of things that have caused fans to scream at their TV from the couch.

He may have had an off-shooting night with 1-of-5 accuracy from 3, but he also didn't try to shoot his way out of the slump at his teammates' expense and found other ways to help out instead.

Grade: C+

Al Horford - 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 3 blocks

 

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

This game very likely would have been a loss without Horford's calming presence on both ends. He prevented the team from getting sped up, anchored the defense, and kept the ball from sticking and becoming the Jayson Tatum show.

If Boston can expect 70% of this as a baseline from the Florida product moving forward, they will be in a very good place indeed.

Grade: A-

Dennis Schroder - 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal

 

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It was probably not a wise idea to start Schroder in the backcourt with Smart given neither is lighting the world on fire with their shooting, but against Houston, the German point guard made it work, and pretty well at that.

He also had some efficiency problems from deep, but hit half his shots overall while helping to move the ball and play solid defense.

Grade: B-

Jayson Tatum - 31 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

 

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It was clearly not his best overall game, but it was his best of the season so far, with the Duke product feeling his shot and finding ways to score from all over the court.

Our biggest critique is 4 free throw attempts is simply not enough for Tatum to make the sort of leap he needs to if this team is going to sniff home-court advantage in the playoffs, but this was a marked improvement over the first two games of the season even so.

Grade: B+

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