I completed my ratings, tendencies, and assigned plays for the Celtics, and instead of running a CPU match I decided to play against them with my also completed Knicks.
Rather than post the box score it might be best to look at each individual player's performance.
STATS: 44 Points, 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal, 43 Minutes
SHOTS: 19-30 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-5 FT
NEGATIVE: 2 Turnovers, 4 Fouls
I had my offensive play calling set to Auto which naturally meant a bunch of Iso and Post plays for Melo. Naturally, I suck at the new Iso & Post controls. I still managed to find some separation here and there, and hit my share of contested shots too (which balanced out the ridiculous rate the CPU hit some of theirs). One thing I don't like about "Simulation" sliders is that the CPU will never swipe at the ball and thus I was kinda free to generate my own shot without losing the ball (PASSING is the absolute worst thing you can do in this game at times). Thus Melo only had 2 turnovers to his 30 FGA, 5 FTA, and 5 assists. The CPU also never goes for Charges which is a main source of Melo's real life turnovers, and unfortunately this is a feature that has been largely absent from the last 4-5 years of 2K.
STATS: 38 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 6 Steals, 2 Blocks, 37 Minutes
SHOTS: 15-20 FG, 4-6 3PT, 4-4 FT
NEGATIVE: 1 Turnover, 1 Foul
You can't get any more efficient than the game Pierce had. I played great defense for much of the game (at least as good as one can with Carmelo Anthony), but that is more than one can say about the dreaded CPU. Two straight possessions Pierce was able to hit threes because the CPU got totally lost on their rotations (chasing after a man that already had defensive coverage) while I was busy successfully defending a West/Garnett Pick & Roll.
Pierce also hit a go-ahead three with 1.8 seconds left in OT by literally jogging through a double screen play to hit an uncontested three. I didn't have much of a beef with his shot selection but the CPU defensive AI (who I honestly think intentionally function worse when rubberband AI is in effect) made his line a bit gaudier than it should have been (32 points on 13-18 FG and 2-4 3PT I can live with). Pierce also didn't take many FTs so maybe I could have been more physical with him on his drives... though the CPU managed to avoid contact from even the help defender on a few occasions.
Pierce also had 6 steals mainly from reaching on post entry passes to Melo. I wish my CPU would aggressively go after post entry passes.
STATS: 28 Points, 8 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 44 Minutes
SHOTS: 12-24 FG, 4-5 FT
NEGATIVE: 3 Turnovers, 3 Fouls
After fixing the assigned plays, Amare ran more Pick and Rolls than he normally would, which was very pleasing. He should be utilizing his quickness against Garnett rather than playing with his back to the basket against one of the best post defenders in the league. I was also able to find him on a few basket cuts during one of Melo's isolation plays (this was not part of the play diagram, and I doubt the CPU would make this kind of recognition).
Amare also hit the game winning shot (unfortunately not a buzzer beater for the achievement, 0.3 seconds left) as I gave the CPU a taste of it's own medicine. For whatever reason my team wasn't running an inbounds play so I grabbed Amare (who was standing 30 feet from the basket with 1.8 seconds left looking for a pass like an idiot) and ran him towards the basket where he belongs. Garnett got caught behind Fields, Jermaine O'Neal (inbound defender), and Pierce (defending Fields) which gave Amare a clear path to the basket. Amare caught the ball 10 feet away and pulled up for a jumper. If I missed the shot I probably would have kicked myself for not going for the layup (though if time expired I would have kicked myself for not going for the shot). I think I pulled up simply because I was so shocked I was open. Either way, the shot went down, and Boston had no timeouts remaining (and w/ 0.3 ticks left, not enough time to get a shot anyway).
STATS: 12 Points, 3 Rebounds, 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, 43 Minutes
SHOTS: 6-15 FG, 0-1 3PT
NEGATIVE: 2 Turnovers, 3 Fouls
I took Garnett very seriously because I remember how unstoppable his fadeaway is in previous 2K games. Late in the game I started doubling off Rondo anytime KG got it in the post. He got a few good looks due to poor CPU rotation but at the end of the day he did not have a good offensive game (zero assists, no free throws, 9 missed shots).
One important feature to note is that Garnett played within himself and didn't dribble around the court. One of fan's biggest complaints is that bigs have Isolation tendencies that are much too high (Garnett's in particular was a team leading 91). Isolations only made up 5% of KG's offense IRL so this was appropriately dealt with.
STATS: 11 Points, 4 Rebounds, 8 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 29 Minutes
SHOTS: 4-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1-1 FT
NEGATIVE: 1 Turnover, 6 Fouls
I was a bit reach happy with Billups on the defensive end, forgetting that it was Simulation setting where on-ball steal success is very low. Billups actually had some good fouls, preventing an alley oop (fouling the passer), and another that stopped a fastbreak so it wasn't all bad. I am not a fan of his man defense anyway as he isn't nearly quick enough to keep up with Rondo. I was flabbergasted when Avery Bradley checked into the game in the 4th quarter and then proceeded to blow by Billups for a dunk no more than 5 seconds later. Offensively, I didn't have a bad game with Billups as he ran the offense and I took smart shots, but his defensive struggles kept the Celtics in the game and I wasn't sad to see him foul out late in the 4th quarter.
STATS: 24 Points, 2 Rebounds, 7 Assists,4 Steals
SHOTS: 9-22 FG, 6-8 FT
NEGATIVE: 1 Turnover, 6 Fouls
As mentioned before, Billups struggled to keep up with Rondo, and I also played off Rondo to double down on Garnett. The result is the CPU took more shots than Rondo normally would. He was only 1-6 between the 4th quarter and OT and fouled out via intentional foul on the 2nd to last possession of OT (I bricked one FT which set up Pierce's go-ahead three on the next possession). I definitely picked my poison properly by staying at home on the big three. I probably could have defended his penetrations better, but I was also using one of the league's worst defensive teams and I've spent the bulk of my time editing ratings. Cut me some slack.
STATS: 11 Points, 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 39 Minutes
SHOTS: 3-4 FG, 3-3 3PT, 2-2 FT
NEGATIVE: 2 Turnovers
Fields didn't get many plays run for him (a few Pick & Rolls w/ Amare) but was able to do most of his damage giving post-entry passes to Melo. Anytime Allen made any effort to double I was able to hit Fields for a three. Allen was late just enough that he wouldn't put his hands up and Fields was able to get B quallity shots on a Perfect Release that all went down. Defensively, he struggled to stay in front of Ray Allen at times, but was usually athletic enough to (eventually) recover. At one point Fields grabbed an offensive board, shot faked, and went to the line. All told, this was really how Fields plays in real life.
STATS: 17 Points, 2 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal
SHOTS: 6-17 FG, 1-5 3PT, 4-5 FT
NEGATIVE: 2 Turnovers, 1 Foul
If there was one player I was determined not to let beat me, it was Ray Allen. I made sure not to leave it to the CPU to chase Allen around on screens. I didn't overreact to Allen when he was on the 3pt line getting a pick from Garnett. He isn't going to take the shot in motion. Just get over and put your hands up. Only jump when the shot clock is down to one. The end result is I defended Allen much better than I'd thought. Most of his successful shots were fastbreak layups and dunks (or a layup he was able to get based on how tight I played him on the perimeter). I can live with 17 points on 17 shots from Ray Allen.
STATS: 4 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 35 Minutes
SHOTS: 1-1 FG, 2-2 FT
NEGATIVE: 2 Turnovers
Turiaf had the biggest shot of the night. Down 2 points with 5 seconds left, I inbounded the ball to Toney Douglas, 35 feet from the basket, momentarily forgetting it was the end of the game. Douglas drove in but was stopped by Rondo at the FT line. Turiaf showed up running over Douglas' left shoulder. Garnett was on my right side chasing Turiaf. With 1.6 seconds left I figure what the hell and give it to cutting Turiaf half-praying it was Amare (it wasn't... Amare was standing behind the 3pt line in the corner, home position for a PF/C in the 2Kverse). Turiaf catches the ball but has been re-picked up by Garnett on his right hand side. Turiaf swoops to the basket and lays it in over Garnett with no time remaining on the clock to send it into overtime.
Aside from that, no plays were ever called for Turiaf and he did his best to stay out of Amare & Melo's way. He played some solid team defense and helped limit KG but I'd have a bitter taste in my mouth if it weren't for him being in the right place at the right time.
STATS: 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 3 Steals, 22 Minutes
SHOTS: 0-1 FG
NEGATIVE: 1 Foul
Like Turiaf, O'Neal got out of the way and focused on defense and rebounding. 3 steals in 22 minutes for O'Neal is a lot considering he only had 2 steals the entire season (458 minutes). Boston had 18 steals to my 6, which is ultimately what kept them in the game despite my 58% shooting to their 48%. I was pretty careful with my passing aside from one stint late in the 4th where I turned it over 3 straight times, so I don't know what one can really do to cut back on the CPU's success on this end. Obviously the Celtics are a good defensive team and get lots of steals, but not from Jermaine O'Neal (0.2 STL% last season).
STATS: 7 Points, 3 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 3 Blocks, 33 Minutes
SHOTS: 1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 5-6 FT
NEGATIVE: 9 Turnovers, 2 Fouls
Douglas with the epic 1.11 A/T ratio. His low pass rating probably had something to do with passes getting picked, as Billups had no problem making those same passes. Unlike Billups however, Douglas had no problem keeping Rondo in front as evidenced by his 3 blocks. Believe it or not, Douglas actually lead the team in Plus/Minus with +8 while Billups was -5. Now that I mention it, I did say Rondo was 1-6 in the 4th and OT (including 0-4 in OT which Douglas played all of) so really, we saw the best and worst of the Knick PGs. Both have to be used differently. 2K's playcalling system doesn't do a great job of recognizing this. One thing I definitely would have done if I were calling the shots would be to use Douglas in the Pick and Roll more with Amare rather than exclusively featuring Melo every time down, even if Melo was having his way offensively (when he actually got the ball - hence the reason why Douglas is best used in P/R situations).
STATS: 5 Points, 4 Rebounds, 2 Steals, 26 Minutes
SHOTS: 1-3 FG, 3-4 FT
NEGATIVE: 1 Foul
Not much to say about Green's performance except that he stayed out of the way. He posted up a few times with Pierce out of the game but he's not a big time scorer. His lone basket came on a fastbreak.
STATS: 4 Points, 5 Rebounds, 2 Steals
SHOTS: 1-1 FG, 2-4 FT
Jeffries is only 58 overall but still found a way to impact the game, be it coming up with a loose ball underneath or helping out on the defensive end. In typical Knick fan fashion, I found myself screaming at the TV anytime Jeffries came up with a ball and was timid about going up for a shot (resulting in a drawn foul). Part of that is my stick control, the other is just the shock from the CPU not coming up with the loose ball.
STATS: 4 Points, 6 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Block, 22 Minutes
SHOTS: 2-4 FG, 0-1 3PT
NEGATIVE: 2 Fouls
Like most opponents, I didn't really care when Davis had the ball on the perimeter, though he inexplicably was able to blow by Amare on the baseline (w/ Amare sagging off!) thanks to the game's unresponsive defensive controls.
Bill Walker: 2 Points, 3 Rebounds, 1 Block, 13 Minutes (1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Shawne Williams: 2 Rebounds, 1 Foul, 10 Minutes (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Iman Shumpert: 3 Points, 1 Turnover, 1 Foul, 6 Minutes (1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT)
Delonte West: 5 Points, 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Foul, 16 Minutes (2-4 FG, 1-2 FT)
JaJuan Johnson: 4 Poinrs, 3 Rebounds, 11 Minutes (2-4 FG)
Avery Bradley: 4 Points, 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 5 Minutes (2-2 FG)
This was a great gaming experience for me as it was a realistic and back and forth game with some huge highlights for both teams. I can live with some of the CPU's steals since I was playing the Celtics and most came against a guy who really can't run the point, and even the Knicks' defensive mistakes by the CPU (it IS the Knicks we're talking about). One major concern however is how many steals the CPU had when they weren't even reaching for the ball. Turning up that slider would probably make me want to rip my hair out (though it would also lead to more steals on my end). I also would have liked to see more P/R play from the Celtics which can be attributed to the "Look for Post Players" slider being increased on the Simulation slider set (that certainly isn't a player tendency issue however).
I was basically able to shut down Boston's halfcourt offense (aside from Pierce) but those fastbreaks simply killed me. Celtics had 64 Points in the Paint, 22 Fastbreak Points, and 28 Points off Turnovers. They shot 48% from the field, but when you factor in how many of those baskets came on the break, I did a much better defensive job than the numbers showed. When the CPU wasn't forcing turnovers, I more or less took them to town with my superior shot selection (58% from the field and 7-11 on threes). The game was ONLY close because I had 15 more turnovers than they did.
All told however, this was one of the most realistic NBA experiences I have ever played, and a big improvement over what we were seeing with the default rosters. I'm looking forward to working on the other 28 teams. I will also upload the roster right now so you guys can download and try it out for yourselves (remember: only the Knicks and Celtics are completed so far). I would love to hear your results.