Each weekend during the season, we'll take a look at three players (or player groupings) that are trending in different directions based on recent play. Sound off with your thoughts on who's up and who's down in the comment section:
This week's stats: 15 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 55.0 FG% (4 games)
Garnett came out of the gates slow and more than a few commenters thought he should have been in the down category for Week 1. Garnett bounced back strong, highlighted by a 24-point, 9-rebound effort in a New Year's Day win in Washington. He also had a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) against New Jersey. Garnett still needs to be more aggressive with the ball, something he acknowledges coach Doc Rivers is on his case about, especially in situations when the Celtics are struggling to generate offense, as was the case Friday night.
This week's stats: 4.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 13.3 mpg (4 games)
Stiemsma drew a spot start for Jermaine O'Neal against Washington and had a bit of a breakout game by chipping in 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists over 21 minutes. His week tailed off a bit afterward and he didn't attempt a shot in 19 minutes of floor time over the final two games of the week, but it's clear Stiemsma has the potential to carve out a consistent role for himself on this team.
This week's stats: 4.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 13 mpg (4 games)
Bradley spent last week in the down category after Rivers suggested E'Twaun Moore was about to bite into the second-year player's minutes. Instead that threat might simply have been a kick in the tush for Bradley, who received elevated minutes in a home-and-home against the Wizards and responded well. On Wednesday against the Nets, he had his best performance of the year, chipping in 11 points, 2 assists and 2 steals while providing a monster defensive spark after Boston sleepwalked through the first half of the game.
Last week's up: Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Ray Allen
The Celtics were scheduled to take Sunday off as a team, but members of the second unit were planning on visiting the practice facility in order to work on their continuity. It's desperately needed. Chris Wilcox and Marquis Daniels labored through tough weeks, while Keyon Dooling is still getting comfortable as quarterback of the second unit. Outside of Brandon Bass -- and flashes from Stiemsma and Bradley -- the bench needs to work on providing consistent energy. As Rivers noted, the unit might not always score points (and will lean on Bass for that), but they have to be consistent in their energy and improve their defensive play.
This week's stats: 2.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 rpg, 14 mpg (4 games)
We detailed Daniels' recent struggles HERE. His shots simply are not falling (he was 3-of-16 for 11 points this week) and he had only five rebounds and four assists over 55 minutes of action. The Celtics can settle for his streaky offensive contributions (even if they'd like to see him become a consistent post threat and get back to being the cutter they know he can be) as long as his defense can get back toward the level it was at last season. Daniels can be an ultra-effective wing defender when he's playing to his abilities (the lack of a real preseason coming off spine surgery is working against him).
This week's stats: 4.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 bpg, 22.3 mpg (3 games)
O'Neal closed out last week strong, putting up 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in a win over the Pistons. In addition to sitting out a game with a sore left hamstring (something he made sure to stress was merely precautionary), O'Neal produced a mere 14 points over three games. Listen, offense isn't what the team needs from O'Neal and he still chipped in 15 rebounds and 6 blocks in that span. But he had more fouls (7) than points (6) in his last two games of the week and that simply shouldn't happen. O'Neal has been plagued by early foul trouble and it's hindering his ability to be a consistent contributor.
Last week's down: Defense, Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson
Up, Down archive: Week 1