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Bullets: Just Another Game…Right. Boston 88, Heat 80

 

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In the end, it was all about poise.  No matter which way you slice it.  Dwyane Wade‘s lack of poise at the end to take a terrible turn-around three out of a timeout.  Kevin Garnett‘s lack of poise to miss two potentially game-icing free throws and then commit an offensive foul on a moving pick.  LeBron James‘ poise to knock down three point shot after three point shot in the fourth quarter.  And finally, Ray Allen‘s poise to knock down that corner three to put the game out of reach.

The Celtics came out tonight and established early that they were going to completely smother the Heat wing players while clogging the lane enough to stymie their penetration.  The Heat, meanwhile, appeared to think tonight was still the Preseason.  Wade especially looked like he could have used a few extra Preseason games as he was absolutely abysmal.  None of the Heat triumvirate looked like they knew how to play with one another.  Is was extremely evident, on the other hand, that the Celtics were a team completely comfortable with one another.

At the end of the day, while this may be a great win for the Celtics, it’s just one game.  The Boston Celtics are (1-0) and the Miami Heat are (0-1).  Both have at least 81 more.

Bullets:

  • First thing is first.  So far, not a whole lot has change for the Celtics when it comes to the overall theme of their games.  High turnovers (16), a dip in their play in the third quarter,  and excellent defense highlighted by their never-ending set of rotations.  The Celtics got out to a fast start, cooled off, and pulled it out in the end.  In doing so, they sacrificed a 19 point lead and nearly ended up giving the game away to the Heat.  The Celtics gave away a lot of double-digit leads last season and they have given one away this season.  Does this become a trend or is this just opening night rustiness?
  • The Celtics do not deserve all of the credit for nearly giving this game away.  The Miami Heat heavily aided in this endeavor.  As I mentioned before, LeBron James hit a barrage of seemingly uncontested three point shots (3-for-6) in the second half.  Wade contributed one huge fourth quarter three point make on a step back move on Ray Allen and James Jones and Eddie House made another step toward resurrecting their careers by nailing three threes (Jones 2, House 1) in the second half.
  • I may have mentioned that the Boston Celtics have so far followed the same script they did last year when it comes to game-flow.  While this may be true, this is not to say that they have not employed new wrinkles to their offense.  One that has carried through to the regular season from the preseason is the Rajon Rondo post-up.  Rondo posted up Carlos Arroyo early in the third quarter and Kevin Garnett came away with an easy jumper.  Last year, the Celtics often started games with trying to get Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett going by feeding them the ball a lot in the first quarter.  Tonight, the Celtics gave the ball to Shaquille O’Neal twice.  The result may have been two misses but the shots and decisions were both good.  I actually expect the Celtics do this a lot.  It may be their best chance to get the most out of O’Neal by giving him the ball when he is freshest.  Couple that with the fact that Shaq will not see court time in crunch time, it stands to reason.
  • In the first half, Miami’s defense was just awful.  There were numerous occasions where Rajon Rondo was able to turn the corner, get into the paint, and have his pick of player on the perimeter.  Paul Pierce and Allen were able to feast on open threes and the Celtics were able to stretch the lead to 45-30 at half time.  Rondo also finished the game with 17 assists and he earned them.
  • So far, Glen Davis has the lead in the “Charge-Taking” battle he is engaged in with Jermaine O’Neal.  Davis played great finishing with 13 points and 5 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting.  O’Neal, on the other hand, had one point in 11 minutes.  His one point came on a free throw, 1-of-2 free throws he probably did not deserve as it looked like he was cleanly stripped going up.  O’Neal looks like he is playing with heavy legs and it will be really interesting to see if he loosens up as the season progresses.  Right now it looks like the Celtics missed the boat on going hard after Mike Miller
  • Gadzooks! Boston finished the game with 41 rebounds!  Boston out-rebounded a team?!  Okay, so this was all to be expected.  One of the Celtics biggest issues last year was rebounding and they made addressing this issue a priority this offseason.  Not only is Boston in prime position to be a better rebounding team, but the Miami Heat are projected to struggle mightily in that area.  Garnett had 10, O’Neal had 7, and Pierce had 9.
  • There was a great exchange of plays in the second quarter.  On one end, Dwyane Wade is called for a travel knifing his way through the lane.  On the other end, Marquis Daniels gets Wade in a post-up and got Wade up in the air with an amazing up-fake and step through.  The Wade move was probably not a travel but the Daniels move was far more fundamentally sound.  Daniels moves slow slowly, he is more than able to lull his opponents into going for up-fakes.
  • With four minutes to go in the first half, the Celtics look dominant.  Rondo and Garnett execute a pick-and-roll and Eddie House finds himself guarding Garnett in a mismatch.  Garnett takes advantage of this mismatch by shooting an easy pass over to Paul Pierce for a wide-open three.  Pierce misses and no one blocks out Garnett has he goes up and nearly slams home a huge put-back.  The ball bounces off the back rim and secured by Rondo who the kicks it out to Ray Allen for another wide open three.  Swish. Whoah.
  • I would have liked to see more of and more out of Nate Robinson tonight.  I suspect I will.  Especially if guys like Eddie House are in the game.

That’s it for now.  Enjoy the win ladies and gentlemen because the Celtics will do it all over again tomorrow.  More from Brian Robb later.

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  • Morpheus

    Assuming you're going to do the proper recap of the game,can you put a video replay of that play where Ray got open in the corner for 3.That was BEAUTIFUL,not just the SHOT the whole PLAY was BEAUTIFUL.

  • Ranen

    ya that was beautiful

  • I_Love_Green

    And this his momma says "yeah! Thats MY boy!"

    • koolaid

      classic stuff

  • I_Love_Green

    Okay okay. Rondo wasn't really looking for his shot, except his got 17 assists. I'll take it. Ray Ray, was ballin. Dropping 5 threes, including the clutch one with 49 seconds left. Pierce gets hurt, comes back and hits two huge threes. Kevin was AWESOME on defense, on offense he was decent. The heat played good defense on him. Shaq missed about 3 gimme layups but still got 9 points, 7 boards. Solid game for him.
    Big Baby was big in the 4th quarter, Nate was rushing some shots, JO looked lost on offense but played good defense, and Quisy looked great. I'm excited for him.

    All in all, we played a pretty good game. We just had way too many turnovers. Just think, we beat "the greatest team in NBA history" with our starting center out, one of our main bench players out, and KG not having a great offensive game. This team is going to be very good, as long as they aren't bored with the season.

    • Ouvert

      Very happy tor Quisy. I loved what he was able to do to Wade with his back to the basket, and he had a few very nice one-on-one defensive plays.

      • koolaid

        quisy was huge. so was baby. i love this team.

  • Ranen

    Agreed Asad… We let them get back into this game and that was an eary(sp) memory of last year..

  • crizik

    This team is going to be very good, if the injury bug doesn't bite them.

  • Kobe's Daddy

    not a great win…but a good one. first half was amazin defense and so so offense for the overall game. Both teams will be much better than this though.

  • hillcrestwildcat

    Reggie Miller's 3 record is toast this year. We get the turnovers under control and we will approach 60 wins. Our bench (especially when Delonte returns) is gonna hold a lot of leads and extend many more for us and when Jermaine gets his legs its on.

  • K C

    You cant have a big 3 when Chris Bosh is the 3rd wheel.

    Bosh might upt up good numbers (er, pad his stats) verse sub par competition, but he's not going to get it done against good to above average players.

    • Champs

      he averaged 24 points against the celtics?

      • JP-

        Bosh isn't a superstar, its easier to have higher stats when your the only one who has any offensive game like in Toronto.

  • http://twitter.com/M_DeVelaine @M_DeVelaine

    I have two comments in the aftermath of this game tonight.

    1. I'm rather annoyed – in a fun way – with Nate for not showboating a dunk when he was only player from either team inside the three-point arc after that steal-and-outlet from KG. Prime time to show up and tear the roof off the building, and he drops it in like he's afraid to wake someone. It's the higher percentage play, yes – and I'm thankful that there was no missing there – but I'd have loved to see him pump the crowd.

    2. Ray Allen needs 111 more made threes to tie Reggie Miller for the category. I'll be keeping track of this for my own amusement. :)

  • Idaho

    Tough to watch Eddie demoralize us while Robinson is basically a non-factor. I love that Eddie House. D. West will make Nate much better though.

    I just can't get over how much Glen Davis reminded me of TA…Blaogh! Haha. I love this team its nice to be hooting and hollering at the TV again.

  • Greg

    Just wondering, did anyone else watch the game on TNT's hi-def channel, and if so, was the broadcast in Spanish for you too? It was the weirdest thing. The pre-game show and half-time show were in English, but the actual game was entirely broadcast in Spanish. This was only the case for TNT's hi-def channel. Their regular channel was in English. Not being a Spanish speaker, this drove me nuts. My choice was to either watch the game in crappy low-def or watch in hi-def in Spanish. WTF?

  • XXX

    One game, against a team hyped by media and one that has not played a game together yet. Uhhh…not so impressive y’all. Let’s talk in a few months. Pull it together now.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jVy2WAjy9A Alvaro Fanfarron

    You got lucky Celtics, I made a vlog after the game -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jVy2WAjy9A

  • Matthew

    TNT: "Do you think the Miami Heat is the team to beat this season?"

    Rondo: "I think we are."

    YEA!!!!!!! I shivered with pride when he said that to Craig Sager! Luvit! :o)

  • John (in Lakersland)

    wow, Heats looked terrible. Rondo still can't buy a jumper, but who cares when he's getting 93 assists. KG looks like he's 93 years old. Shaq is 93 years old. The best player for the Heats tonight: Joel Anthony.

    Pauline Pierce was trash, KG was trash, Ray Allen was as good as expected. The big three is dead. This team will live and die by Rondo. What the hell is Carlos Arroyo doing guarding him straight up? Apparently, SVG's teachings have been forgotten. The key to guarding Rondo is to stay 8 feet away.

    Good win for the Celts. Bad win for the Lakers tonight. Power rankings after day 1: Celtics 1st. Lakers 2nd.

  • Jason

    I'm expecting a full Hub breakdown of the new Celtics set play unveiled in the second half that I'm dubbing "Trips Right" where Rondo starts with the ball on the left wing and three Cs bunch on the right wing outside of 3 before then setting a wave of screens. They ran that about 5 times in a row and got dunks and open threes. We'll see how long it takes the league to figure out how to defend it because as a completely new NBA play, Miami's D was lost.

    • JP-

      I noticed the play too, I like the name you gave it

  • Ray Leighton

    Nice win, KG sometimes seemed to be covering the entire Heat team, damn, the guy was everywhere, and Rondo just shredded them when we had the ball. Good effort from a lot of guys — had to smile seeing Shaq run the length of the floor to be there for Rondo's pass in transition. But we can't count on the Heat being so disorganized on defense in the future. We moved the ball well, and Paul and Ray shot really well, but the Heat did a very poor job in letting those two get open again and again. That last killer three from Ray — check out the replay — Ray penetrates, draws the defense, and passes out to Paul, and the Heat panic — three guys run out to cover two people on the perimeter. And suddenly, Lebron realizes, "hey, wait, if Dwayne is covering my man, who is covering Dwayne's guy?" — and then it was too late; Ray's in his spot in the corner, nothing but net. Sweet.

    Yeah, I'm with Jason; let's see Trips Right.

    @Greg — the Spanish thing happens sometimes, not sure why; I watched a game that way last year.

  • Scott

    C's looked really good last night until about midway through the third quarter. First quarter was defense defense defense. Second quarter was offensive, and i thought that was def. their best quarter. The third quarter though, i felt like Doc kept the starters in for too long, and i think thats the reason we gave away so many leads last year. I wonder what would happen if we inserted some of the subs earlier in the third to keep the energy up, if we'd be able to keep leads. Not that the starters cant do it, but i feel like they don't really keep their foot on the gas – and love to walk the ball up the court. There were a few possessions in a row last night where the entire team walked up the court. Our half court offense is good, but rondo is a much better pg when he's running – and we are a great fast-break team. Thats all i got – went ape Sh** when ray hit that three in the corner. Biggest thing for him – stay consistent. Glad to see Paul do his thing last night too, and it was GREAT seeing KG go up with both hands to grab boards. Fun game – glad we got the win.

  • Ouvert

    The Heat will definitely play better as the season rolls on, but they've got a few flaws that'll be hard to fix. Especially at the 1 and 5. The Celtics are well positioned to exploit the weakness, but they're not the only ones.

    What's going to happen when the Heat plays Orlando? Orlando is strongest where the Heat are weakest – the 5 and the 1. Shaq had no trouble getting good looks at the hoop – just think about what Dwight Howard will do to them.

  • torpid bunny

    Celtics look healthier and fresher than in the finals, that's for sure. With health and better rebounding, I think this team is better than last year's. I'm very interested to see if Rondo cuts down on his turnovers and brain farts this year. Hard to say how good the Heat will be. I really wonder how much Wade and Lebron cancel each other out.

  • schtevie

    Didn't watch the game, but two interesting facts leap out from the Heat box score. LeBron's +/- of +1 in 43 minutes, which means in his 5 minutes off the court the Heat went down 9. And Ilgauskas' +/- of +17 in 11 minutes, which I presume completely overlapped with LBJ's. This, and the bad performance of Wade, coming off his hamstring woes, tells me that this was really a preseason game for the Heat, and they should be just fine (as long as they stay healthy).

  • Jamie

    Really liked what we got off the bench. Need that every night and let JO work his way in. KG looks like he is back with his legs. he's not dragging the bad leg around like he was in the playoffs which is a good sign, but he's still shooting too many 18 footers. Doc made a great point about how Shaq is getting them in the bonus earlier in quarters. So definitely some great positives.

    Miami is an assemblage of talent, but not a team. Their half court offensive sets were terrible. Bosh was a great stat compiler on a bad team, but they really need him to be a low post presence, which is not his game at all. He really doesn't fit in with them at all.

  • Choffster

    Oh Miami Heat, How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…………
    It was a strange sensation to be pulling for the C's last night. As a lifelong Laker fan this is the first time I have ever, EVER! felt that way. (I suppose winning a game 7 against you guys and anticipating a ring ceremony and banner raising helped) But sitll, Nice Job!
    Good Luck this season, let's do it again in June.

  • JP-

    Why is everyone giving the Heat a pass for not playing as a team? When the Celtics Big 3 were formed we came out of the gate running, and had a great record to start (and finish) the year. The Heat will play better as the season goes on, but so will the Celtics, especially when Perk comes back, Delonte comes back, and Jermiane is healthy.

    • John (in Lakersland)

      how many returning players on this year's Heats v. how many returning players on the 2008 Celts?

      as the season goes on, Heats will become better. Celtics will become MORE injured, not less. (see: History)

  • Alex

    Some random thoughts from having attended the game:

    You know who had a truly terrible game: the stadium sounds system guys. I don't know if this came across on TV but they were just dreadful, killing chants and deflating the crowd all night long. They kept putting on the same goddamn D-fence chant, when the crowd was either trying to boo the Heat or still cheering the Celtics. Twice I heard them kill a "who's your daddy?" chant, and they completely butchered Shaq's first dunk. The crowd was primed to explode at Shaq's first score, but rather than let the crowd go nuts, they switched straight to the D-Fence, killing the crowd. They made up for it on his second dunk, when they put on the noise meter, and it got loud!!!, but it was like they had no feel for the crowd at all.

    Also, Rondo had some seriously weird body language during some of the timeouts–walking around, standing by himself, repeatedly acting out catching, turning and shooting. I'm pretty sure he was on the bench during all of these Rain Man routines, but it still didn't look great for his chemistry with the rest of the team.

    As for Nate not showboating on that dunk–someone said it was disappointing above. It didn't feel that way at all in person. The crowd loved it. LeBron had just stuffed Rondo earlier and was coming back to try to block Nate, and Nate made the smart play. At that point it felt like the C's were playing harder and smarter than Miami, and Nate passing up showboating for a sure 2 points just emphasized that.

  • http://www.kristenstewart.com/ Kristen Stewart Fan

    Celtics looked pretty good for the better part of the game

  • http://www.waterfountainsdirect.com water fountain

    I was such a fan of lebron in cleaveland. can’t stand him on the heat…his biggest problem is he tries to do too much

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