Oh my how the Celtics needed that!
And the best news is that the Celtics held the Pistons under 90 points after failing to prevent that in their first three games. Were there defensive lapses? Sure. But the overall defensive display was impressive.
Along with the return of defensive basketball, the Celtics also got some unexpected contributions from Jermaine O’Neal (19 points, 7 Rebounds, ZOMG +25!) and the Cap’n Paul Pierce (12 points). Pierce’s line may have looked pedestrian by his standards, but he showed no ill-effects from the heel injury and made all his patented step-back jumpers.
Despite the convincing win, the Celtics’ all bench unit still looks pretty lost. That is definitely something to watch as the season goes on.
* * *
We’ll have more for you Celtics’ fans to chew on tomorrow but tonight, I’ll leave you with this:
During the post-game presser, Doc Rivers mentioned that he took Lawrence Frank out to dinner last night (they are former colleagues after all) and Doc said that there was “no chance” Paul was going to play. As you well know, Pierce did play and really changed the entire way the Celtics started the game. He also was the only player with which the Celtics ran isolation plays.
It’s funny. After years of seeing Pierce be the offense and go exclusively “one on five” for substantial stretches, I never thought I would be so happy to see him post his defender up on the wing, face up, and make a move. This may prove to be the biggest luxury the Celtics have this season.
After the game, Frank had this to say about Pierce:
“Paul changes the game for them. Regardless, I know he’s only practiced once this whole year, but you know what he’s capable of doing. He’s an outstanding defender as well. He’s got a pretty decent shot at the Hall of Fame.”
I wasn’t actually in the room when Frank said this, but I can only imagine that he was joking a little. Pierce not making the Hall of Fame? He’s underrated but not THAT underrated.
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