Offensive Efficiency: 105.3 points/100 possessions (great for this season)
Defensive Efficiency: 96.8 points/100 possessions (also great)
Pace: 95 possessions (average)
Lost in all the bitching last year about SEGABABAs was the fact that the Celtics were 5-0 when the second game came at home. True to that stat, they didn’t look like they’d lost much of a step tonight. You could almost see their old bones being physically replenished by the inspirational energy of the home crowd and hearing four different Guns N’ Roses songs over the PA in one game (the Garden plays too much Guns N’ Roses, I’m saying). So basically the SEGABABA might not actually be a huge problem if the Celtics are at home…
…but 12 of the C’s remaining 18 SEGABABAs are away, so it might actually be a huge problem. Even tonight, in an encouraging win, potential issues of schedule density were out there. The Wiz only stayed in the game tonight because of their ability to consistently beat the Celtics down the court, score on second-chance possessions, and stage end-of-quarter comebacks. But the Celtics won anyway because they played smarter, more deliberate basketball and Ray Allen made six of seven threes. Nice to see fatigue not cost the Celtics their style of play tonight after they completely lost their minds in that Hornets game.
Click through for a bunch of highlights and player breakdowns!
Maybe three minutes into Stiemsma’s first NBA start, Tommy Heinsohn compared him to Bill Russell for his timing on blocks. Excited for the future of the great Greg Stiemsma vs. Bill Russell debate. My position is that they’re both amazing players, but it’s too hard to compare them across different eras of basketball. If only we could have seen them go head-to-head, you know?
Exaggerated praise from Tommy regardless, Stiemspunk looked great. He’s an actual midrange threat, he cleans glass, and, maybe most surprisingly, he doesn’t look scared. We’re so used to young Celtics running around the court like scared baby ducks, desperately hoping nobody passes to them. Very refreshing to see a guy who isn’t terrified of doing his job. I know that nothing gets this corner of the Internet more excited than an overperforming nobody the Celtics picked up out of nowhere, so I’m geared up to talk about Greg Stiemsma a lot.
The Celtics currently lead the league in three-point percentage at just under 50%, but that’s an insufficient tribute to Ray’s long-range brilliance this year–he’s been much, much better than that. Ray is currently flushing threes at a 61.1% clip, which happens to be Dwyane Wade’s exact percentage so far this season…at the rim.
Ray’s shooting is such an important component of the offense on nights like tonight. The Celtics were continually frustrated under the basket, because attacking the rim takes a young person’s energy, so long-range gunning became their best scoring option. And Ray just completely bailed them out. He’s an actual shooting genius. If he’s lucky, maybe Tommy will compare his shooting form to Greg Stiemsma’s.
Sports medicine experts agree that the two hardest things to do when your heel really hurts are jump and run. Pierce did both of those with prowess, leading them team in rebounds (eight) and getting free for a bunch of great looks, including this backdoor cut.
He still limps a little just to let everyone know how awesome he is to be playing so well with an injury, but the minutes don’t appear to be making his injury worse. He hit 8 of his last 13 shots after starting 0 for 5.
1. Five Celtics in Transition
Bass with the deflection, Wilcox with the rebound and the perfect outlet pass to Ray, pass to Rondo, pass to Daniels. I have no idea how cars work but I’m guessing this play is reminiscent of that process.
2. Pierce to Allen for 3
This was pretty much a dagger. Interesting choice by Blatche to drift off the greatest shooter of all time to triple-cover Pierce.
3. Greg Stiemsma’s Showcase Reel
This was only the first half! Sucks for Boston crowds that it’s not fun to say “Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeg” when he checks into games. They’ll figure something out.
0. A JaVale McGee Moment
It’s really impressive that McGee scored 17 points on 14 rebounds given that he has no control of his body whatsoever. He’s the best.
TOMMY’S COMPLAINT CORNER
My favorite Tommy rants are the ones where his rage overpowers him and he can’t form any ideas, other than how angry he is.