By ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON - While the Celtics officially reached the midway point of their season three weeks ago, the All-Star break is widely considered the NBA midway point of the season.
That's when players get a few days for a little rest and relaxation before gearing up for the second half of the season.
So this is the perfect time to hand out Boston's mid-season grades.
Paul Pierce - A-minus
Pierce (18.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists) has been the team's MVP this season. He has been Boston's go-to guy in the clutch during games and is fifth in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (44.9). He's done all of this while battling a pair of injuries (a knee infection and a strained left foot).
Kevin Garnett - C-plus
Yes his scoring (14.3) is down to the lowest it has been since his rookie season, as is his rebounding (7.3), but the energy, confidence, and swagger he brings to the team cannot be measured in the box score. It's understandable that Garnett's numbers are down this season after having knee surgery, but the Celtics hope he can return to full strength by the time the playoffs arrive.
Rajon Rondo - A-minus
Rondo is proving that he is worth the five-year, $55 million contract that he signed on Nov. 2. As one of the top point guards in the league, Rondo is averaging a career-high 14.1 points, 9.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and a league-best 2.5 steals per game. His mid-range jumper has improved a lot this season and he is knocking down a career-best 52.5 percent of his shots. Rondo is Boston's catalyst on both ends of the floor, but he needs to work on his free throw shooting (59.0 percent) to become a bigger threat in close games.
Kendrick Perkins - A-minus
The Celtics are getting everything they could have asked for and more from Perkins this season, though he did struggle when Garnett went down when he had to face double teams. Perkins is averaging a career-high 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He is also one of the best shot-blockers in the game (1.9 blocked shots per game) and one of the game's best defensive centers. Perkins leads the league in field goal percentage (60.8).
Ray Allen - C
Allen is having his worst season of his career since his rookie season, statistically speaking. Not only is his 16 points per game his second-worst of his career, but so is his assists per game (2.7), and his 3-point shooting percentage is the worst of his career (33.3). If Allen remains with the Celtics for the rest of the season, they're going to need him to break out of his shooting slump in order to have a chance to win the NBA title.
Tony Allen - B-minus
After missing Boston's first 20 games while recovering from an ankle injury, Allen returned and began playing his best basketball since 2006, scoring in double figures in six of eight games from Dec. 18 though Jan. 2. But since Pierce returned, Allen's numbers have dropped considerably. Even so, he's averaging 7.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, and is shooting a career-best 51.9 percent from the floor. He has provided an unexpected but welcomed spark off the bench, and he is making smarter decisions with the ball in his hands.
Rasheed Wallace - C
It's not that Wallace has been bad for the Celtics, he just hasn't lived up to expectations. He's averaging 10.2 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season, and 4.2 rebounds. He has shown flashes of greatness at times, like his 29-point performance against Toronto last month, but hasn't been that consistent. He's taken too many 3-pointers, and does not rebound the basketball as well as a true 7-footer should.
Marquis Daniels - C
Daniels is tough to grade because he missed two months after having thumb surgery, and he was playing with an injured thumb and wrist for several weeks before the Celtics forced him to get surgery. His injury is the main reason why he has been held to just 6.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for the season. In the three games since he returned to action, Daniels has averaged 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. If he can stay healthy the rest of the year, his numbers should hover around where they have been the last three games compared to the early part of the season when he was playing hurt.
Eddie House -C-minus
House is a streaky shooter, and the Celtics are still waiting for an offensive explosion. He broke the franchise single-season 3-point percentage record last year, but his shot isn't falling this year. House is making just 40 percent of his shots, and only 39.4 percent of his 3-pointers, both of which are below his career averages. For the season, House is averaging 7.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game.
Glen Davis - D-plus
Davis missed Boston's first 27 games because he got in a fight with his childhood friend and broke his thumb. Since he returned, Davis has struggled in his new role and is averaging 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.41 minutes, which is down from last year. But the good news is Davis appears have finally found his rhythm. Over his last four games, Davis has averaged 9.3 points 5.5 rebounds in 20 minutes. The Celtics need him to keep that up the rest of the year.
Shelden Williams - D
Williams started off the year strong, reaching double figures in points in three of his first five games with the C's, but has been a non-factor since Davis returned to the lineup. In fact, Williams has not played in Boston's last 13 games (including last night). It seems as if Boston coach Doc Rivers no longer has confidence in Williams, who is averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Brian Scalabrine - C
When called upon, Scalabrine has proven that he can be relied on to play solid defense and spread the floor because he has a history of being a solid jump shooter, though this year his numbers are down this year. Scalabrine is only averaging 1.6 points. He has only knocked down 35.4 percent of his shots, and 30.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Bill Walker - Incomplete
It's tough to grade Walker because Rivers hasn't given him the playing time to give him a complete evaluation. With all of the injuries that the Celtics have had this year, one would think Walker would have earned some playing time, but he's only appeared in eight games so far this season, and has averaged 1.0 points and 0.6 rebounds. When given a chance, Walker can score. In nine games for the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics D-League team, Walker averaged 17.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
J.R. Giddens - Incomplete
Like Walker, Giddens can put up points when given the chance. He averaged a team-high 18.0 points in four games with the Maine Red Claws this year, but he hasn't been able to break into a regular role with the Celtics, so grading Giddens is difficult as well. Giddens is averaging 1.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 4 minutes and 42 seconds per game with the Celtics.
Doc Rivers - C-plus
It is tough to give Rivers a great grade when he has pointed to himself as to part of the reason why the Celtics have struggled in recent weeks. While injuries are the main reason for Boston's struggles, Rivers admitted that some of his players have had personal agendas over the first half of the season, and it's his job to get them focused for each and every game and get everyone on the same page. He also admitted that the Celtics are not a 48 minute team and it's his job to get them there.