Offensive Efficiency: 108.3 points/100 possessions (good)
Defensive Efficiency: 110.4 points/100 possessions (not good)
Pace: 96 possessions (average)
Couldn’t help but feel a little giddy after today’s game, and not just because basketball is back and I got a stand mixer for Christmas. There was just a huge amount to like about today’s game. It was exciting throughout, the score was all over the place, and it said a lot of positive things about this Celtic team.
“But they looooost.”
Shut up! Yes, Kevin Garnett was somehow capably defended by Amar’e Stoudemire. And Jermaine O’Neal could only stay on the floor for 17 minutes even though he was contributing a lot of value on defense. And Sasha Pavlovic…woof. But even without Paul Pierce, who is of unquantifiably huge value to the Celtics’ system, this collection of players managed to stage a 20-2 run and take a good team down to the last possession. The veterans on the floor appeared to have held up over the lockout, and the younger rotation players were excellent tonight. If this is rust we’re seeing, then it’s a manageable rust. So even though the Grinch took all our presents, there’s no reason not to be happy little Whos.
Everybody forgot that Rondo was the league’s best point guard and an MVP candidate for the first ten-odd games of the season, and they forgot for very good reasons. But Rondo looked pretty much exactly like he did at the beginning of last season tonight. Most encouraging, of course, were his recklessly attacking the rim and even more recklessly knocking down free throws and jumpers. I can’t remember the last game I saw from Rondo that felt so…complete. Check the Highlight Gallery (a new regular recap feature!!) below for some old-fashioned impossible Rondo nonsense.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Brandon Bass.”
What a joy it is to watch a power forward come off the bench and:
The Bassmaster is nothing less than a major, major factor off the Celtics’ bench. I’ll even go so far as to say this insane thing: if they’d had him last year, they would have gotten past the Heat. After one game, I’m actually saying that. That’s how stupid I am.
“Warm body” feels very generous. Zero shots and one accidental rebound in 15 minutes, completely incapable of stopping Carmelo Anthony throughout. If those 15 minutes went to virtually any other player at his position, the Celtics win their first game. That virtually any other player arrives Tuesday in the form of Mickael Pietrus, who can offer the defense and the three points that Sasha couldn’t string together today. Sasha has for all intents and purposes been escorted behind the barn.
5 three-point attempts. That ties the Celtics’ low for last season with a game when they held the Bucks to 56 points so they chose not to shoot threes out of sportsmanship. I’ve been a little concerned about the decline in the team’s three-point attempts over the last couple of years: 18% of their FGAs were threes last year, down from almost 23% the season before and putting them at 27th in the league. I understand that Pierce’s absence accounts for almost all of this stat, but it would be nice if Pietrus added another legitimate outside threat, because as it stands the Celtics really only have two.
3. Rondo Going Behind the Back Twice
Once to Bass for a dunk, once to KG for a long jumper. Also KG was nice from his distance tonight (5 for 9).
Slow-motion on that last one:
2. O’Neal Block to Daniels Crosscourt Pass to Rondo Layup
I accidentally kicked my parent’s dog across the room when this happened. It tied the game in the third quarter. Look how instantly Marquis rotates and hucks the ball 70 feet.
1. Rondo Steal and 30-Foot Lefty Slingshot Bounce Pass
Nobody does it better.
0. Chris Wilcox Passes to Carmelo Anthony.
The announcers were like, “They used to play together! That’s understandable!” It’s not, but it is funny to watch.
TOMMY’S COMPLAINT CORNER
The technical foul Joey Crawford called on Sasha Pavlovic.
“TECHNICAL FOUL? ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME? The guy is throwin’ his elbows every which way like a whirling dervish…Sasha’s fighting for his LIFE out there…that’s a disgrace. Talk about a power trip….this guy is on a power trip AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS! That’s a disgrace.”