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Just One Game: Celtics 107, Heat 120

Boston Celtics 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 120 Miami Heat
Kevin Garnett, PF 32 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -4
Was it just me or did KG look a step slower than usual? The Heat can make anyone look slow but it’s usually not that evident for a guy like Garnett. 12 rebounds is nice but the usual defensive stalwart was on the floor for 32 out of the 48 minutes of a game in which the opposition scored 120 points. I know that is unacceptable in KG’s mind so I had to bump him down to a B. It’s a little sad and a little awesome that the most memorable KG moment tonight was totally snubbing Ray Allen pregame.
Brandon Bass, PF 28 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -8
Tonight, Bass put all the facets of his game together in one beautiful offensive gem. He shot well from midrange, mixed in a few power dunks, and CRASHED the glass hard. I know Miami is a small team but Bass made it a point to be near the rim when the shot went up. Let’s hope he brings that type of effort for 81 more games.
Paul Pierce, SF 41 MIN | 6-15 FG | 9-9 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | -17
Pierce started off hot and seemed to be really asserting himself early. His effectiveness devolved into forcing shots and unsuccessfully attempting to draw fouls. He can play better and will if he’s given fewer minutes.
Rajon Rondo, PG 44 MIN | 9-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 13 AST | 20 PTS | -13
Rondo seems poised to put up a lot of triple-doubles this season. That fact, however, is not the only reason why he gets an A. He gets an A, first and foremost, for being the grittiest player out on the court tonight. He HATES the Heat and he doesn’t care what you or I think about it. I love the old school way he fouled Wade with 17 seconds left. If Wade is going to go hard to the hole with a commanding lead and the time ticking down, Rondo going to make him think twice. Secondly, Rondo earns high marks for almost single-handedly willing the C’s back into the game after getting over some earlier frustrations. That is some true leadership.
Courtney Lee, SG 24 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7
Lee had a fantastic first quarter and final four minutes. In between then? Not so good. He was also plagued by a bad whistle tonight which seems to be common for him; almost too common. It makes you wonder whether or not Lee is good at hiding obvious fouls from TV cameras but bad at hiding them from officials. We’re used to seeing Wade throw his head back, get a whistle, and then making a shot unaffected by a foul and Lee was on the other end of a lot of them.
Jared Sullinger, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3
Sully acquitted himself well for his first NBA game. I predict he’s in for more minutes against worse teams.
Jeff Green, PF 23 MIN | 0-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -7
Green couldn’t finish a layup, couldn’t convert an outside shot, couldn’t make a defensive rotation, couldn’t guard the pick and roll, and couldn’t guard anyone one-on-one. Tonight was just a not a good start for a guy who has a lot of doubters.
Jason Terry, SG 25 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -10
In the first matchup between Ray Allen and Ray Allen’s replacement, the replacement got completely demolished. I have no doubt Terry will be a huge contributor for the Celtics this season, but it just wasn’t there tonight. Aside from two really good drives in the first half, Terry disappeared and had trouble guarding Allen off the dribble.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 16 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +4
Barbosa has been with the Celtics for just shy of 13 days and he came off the bench tonight to score 16 points in 16 minutes. He was exactly what Terry was supposed to be for the C’s. The knock on Barbosa is that he doesn’t defend and the knock of the Celtics tonight is that no one defended. Let’s hope the Celtics fix their problems as a whole so they can afford to keep Barbosa on the floor.
  • I_Love_Green

    The bench as a whole was very disappointing, Barbosa being the only one I was happy with. KG was kind of….old tonight. Hopefully just 1st game jitters.

    All in all, we're going to get better, hopefully MUCH better, and its just 1 of 82 games.

    On to the next one.

  • Phil

    Throwing some positivity out there, I thought Bass looked great tonight, and he was the other half of the two players that I wasn't sure of coming into the year. He tried to do much early, but he dialed it down after that and really contributed.

    Barbosa also came out of nowhere to almost save the game, it just seemed like the Celtics starters had checked out by the time he got a chance. He cooled off at the end, but he might actually be a contributor this year, and that's encouraging. Maybe he can play the Eddie House role of check in, see if he's hot, and pull the plug quick if he's not.

    Lee was good as well, but did he miss the second and third quarters for some reason? I didn't see him outside of the first quarter and the very end.

  • I_Love_Green

    Also I feel the need to post it again:

    The demise of Ray Allen was greatly exaggerated.

    • Phil

      I really wasn't overly impressed by Ray. Not trying to be bitter or anything, but if he keeps using up possessions on drives and layups falling out of bounds, that's gonna be a problem for the Heat. I've seen enough Ray Allen to know that those usually end up as turnovers.

      The scariest play was the corner three he hit at the very beginning. I don't recall him doing that again though. That's what Miami needs him to do.

      • I_Love_Green

        Well I just meant that some people thought his ankle was going to be a problem, or that'd he'd only get points from wide open threes on passes from Bron or Wade. He was still able to knock down the shots he usually did, and took it to the rim a few times. Still looked like same old Ray.

  • someguyinsac

    At least there's 81 games left for Doc to drill into the new bodies what he expects them to do to win games.

    And BTW, a Lakers loss tonight would sure help get over this loss. 😉

    • I_Love_Green

      Their bench is scary bad. Lol.

    • NHBluesMan

      hack-a-howard already in play… he was what, 3 for 14 from the free-throw line?

  • High Rollers

    I’ll say it again. A LOT of moving parts. And James is still cramping.

  • High Rollers

    Good call, Phil.

    What do you get when you cross a brand new squad with a three year old team that lives off turnovers? … Yeah, that’s right, we win that one if we have reps.

  • Anthony

    The defense is disappointing but only 1 game. Pierce look great but 41mins already? Looks like he will play every position except center this year. And Barbosa and Lee will play a lot of 3 once AB comes back. For a 1st of 82, it was a pretty intense game.

    • NHBluesMan

      Green needs to step it up, i feel the C- grade was abit generous. He WAS looking to attack at times (almost posterized Bosh but got rejected instead) i feel that he's similar to Rondo in that he becomes more tentative if the shots aren't falling… If Green was doing better then Pierce would've gotten more rest

  • AKingman

    KG looked like he had a lot of trouble getting the ball in the post. Rondo was clearly looking for him and couldn't get him the ball. Courtney Lee – played some killer defense, just got into foul trouble. but he made Wade look silly 5 or 6 times. Barbosa was on fire, but obviously can't expect that every night.

    On the down side, Jeff Green looked as bad as everyone feared he would look. Bad defense, bad offense…the man plays like a wet noodle. And while Rondo had good stats, he didn't really get into the game until the second half. Also, the Tech and flagrant foul on D-Wade – not a great start for him. He's got to balance the competitiveness with not hurting his team. He's supposed to be the leader, and be more mature than to get caught up in stupid stuff.

    Overall, an ok start. Defense was porous, offense was ineffcient, but both sides of the ball showed stretches of great play. Chalk this one up to growing pains.

  • messanger

    0-82 ?

  • Mark

    Gotta get to bed so I’ll be short. I’m not that worried. Would have loved a W but it wasn’t happening with the horrible defensive effort tonight. Miami’s D was in midseason form and we played great on offense and it showed with 107 points. The fact we could hang considering the D is glass extremely full.

  • Sam

    We faced the NBA champions from the previous season today as our first game. This team has gotten better from last year with a better bench and a healthy Wade. They are currently the best team and that is a fact. It is something we as Celtics fans have to accept, despite how painful it maybe.

    The Celtics have made a huge re-ramp of their whole roster which has a lot of potential, as some of those bench players can be starters on other teams. It is a work in progress, but I expect to see great things as the season progresses from this team. Lot more playing together, practicing, and building friendships/bonding.

    Jeff Green is and will be the X-factor when it comes to the Heat vs. Celtics match up. He has to embrace that role whether he likes it or not, the sooner the better. He has the size and athleticism do defend LBJ better than anyone else on the team. I hope that Doc makes good use of the deep bench this year because players like Garnett are starting to show their age, like in this game.

    Last but not least, I hope Rondo plays with that intensity that he has against the Heat every game. He will definitely be in the MVP talks this season if he keeps that up (although LBJ would be really hard to overthrow). He just has to maintain his composure and emotions, because they way he acted at the end of the game shows other players and teams that he is an emotional liability. And please practice those FTs…

    Anyways, all the best to this new and improved Celtics team for the 12-13' season. I am excited and looking forward to a great season. We have the talent, grit, confidence, and heart to make a run for the title this year.

  • Really happy with our improved offense. I think we're going to destroy a lot of teams this year. We still have to figure out how to beat Miami on the road, but I expect a much better showing after some time to gel.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Offense really wasn't that great…. This game was victim of being the first of the year and neither team playing very good defense. KG's inability to free himself up on the floor scared me, Jeff Green looked like a waste of money AGAIN, and Pierce started to play hero ball again… Ugh… Nontheless, they still came within 4 points of pulling out a win in a game they really had no business being in at that point.

      • Perhaps what I meant was that it was refreshing to see offense coming from new places.

  • elroz

    The team needs about half a season to jell – as I been saying for weeks. Too many new guys…a long 8 day layoff from NBA basketball…and so you see a fairly bad defense being played. That's the first sign…not the offense – but the D. That's what will need to improve.

    Glad to see Barbossa be so effective. Now waiting for Milicic and Wilcox to return.

    Not worried about Green…his first real NBA game in two seasons.

    Long term planning people!

    • Anthony

      Well they were pretty horrendous on D in the preseason too. Knicks ran like 10 straight pick and rolls and the Celts couldn't stop it. If it take have a season to jell, then we're in trouble. I think it'll be like 20 or so games to get all the defensive rotations correct.

      Offense looked pretty good but not when Rondo isn't on the floor. Hopefully Terry will play the PG role better. I still couldn't believe Doc put in the line-up of Green, Pierce, Barbosa, Terry and Rondo…now that's small ball.

      How about an over/ under on the # of games the Celts will win this year? My guess is 56 (It's the same # I predicted in the 07-08 season) =)

      • NHBluesMan

        i think that qualifies more as miniscule ball… they were able to run like crazy but that's when Bosh went off for 7 straight and put the game away…. I'd love to see a hybrid unit of KG, Green, Barbosa, Bradley (when he's back) and Rondo… those 3 guards would run circles around the other team

  • Greenblood

    ugh if not for the almost comeback(return to competitiveness) in the 4 it would have been an utter embaressment. Instead it was just embaressing. we r probably mostly going to overreact negatively bc of another f’ing loss to the heat and the world swearing itll happen like this all over again this yr and the reality thay they did get better. But f them. the positives for the good guys were obvious though serious youth infusion, speed, scoring, opencourt opportunities actually capitalized on(we must have led the league in blown opencourt layups last year despite rondos brilliance) a bench guy with 16 in the fourth and it wasnt jet thats great. We have more talent than ever when/if doc can get these small lineups and newbloods playing celtic d then just think about the wild comebacks the mighty c’s r gonna pull when we get these new guys playing fast, I like it, we got boys who can fly with rondo I look forward to watching every game this year

  • WTF

    Doc is crazy to play KG, PP and RR so many minutes. Shows how insecure he is.

    • someguyinsac

      I thought that too at first, but then realized with all the new bodies he might not have had a choice to do otherwise. Hopefully as the season progresses, those minutes will be reduced drastically.

    • tomrod

      It was a very meaningful game, that's all.

      • CG12

        Agreed – first game of the year, a big game. Doc is going to lean on the guys who are experienced in the system in that situation. The minutes should go down quite a bit in the future. I'm not too worried about Rondo, but I don't like to see PP playing anything near 40.

  • tomrod

    Hard to take it as just one game. I get my hopes up because this IS a new team and it almost felt like they were playing it like an all-star game in some streches. Let's see how this develops. More from Green and Terry is needed. Please don't scare me with KG, he will get better.

  • I agree with the comment above about us turning it on in the 4th quarter being redeeming for the game. I didn't get to watch the first half. What I saw was basically what everyone is saying: Our defense was porous. We made some pretty bad mistakes, mental lapses and inability to play good team defense. Perfect example was C Lee leaving D Wade in a vain effort to strip either Bosh or Chalmers, who immediately saw a cutting Wade and fed him for an easy bucket. The announcers said "Good offensive basketball!". What they failed to see was boneheaded defensive basketball.

    But then we clamped down in the fourth quarter. We made stops, and then, and here's my whole point of my post…

    WE GOT OUT IN TRANSITION!! It was awesome to see. The Celtics getting out in transition off of a defensive stop IN THE 4TH QUARTER. Rondo to Barbosa. Rondo to C Lee. Earlier was Rondo to Sully.

    This is exciting more than anything.

    Last thought: If we are so deep, why don't we let the reserves play? Is it really just because it is a "big game"? Or does everyone else not really have defensive rotations and offensive sets down? Just basically confused here.

    • Phil

      None of the reserves really played well, that's why they didn't play today. Green was atrocious everywhere (a very generous C- by the way, I'd hate to see a D performance,) Terry was bad offensively and defensively, Sullinger is still learning and has a big speed disadvantage against Miami, and Doc probably didn't go into the game with much plan to use Barbosa, he just got here after all, so he only played when the game was pretty much over. I don't know how available Darko or Collins were, but they certainly weren't going to add anything either way.

      Once Lee goes to the bench after Bradley returns and the Celtics aren't facing the championship favorite the bench will be better. Though this was a good illustration of how depth and a bench helps for the regular season, but won't necessarily mean much for the ECF if the new guys don't bother stepping up (or even sitting up.)

  • Phil

    Thinking back on the game after the immediate reactions have worn off, the ending is really bothering me. The Celtics basically lucked into a 4 point game thanks to a Barbosa explosion and Lebron cramping up, and they responded to that 4 point game by dying in crunch time and ending on an 0-9 run.

    I never got the feeling that they had a chance before the final Heat run, and I don't remember the intensity even increasing on the Celtics side. I commented earlier that it looked like the starters had already checked out (Rondo the big exception,) and that bothers me. I didn't see the fire from KG tonight, and Pierce hero ball needs to stop about a year ago. Its just the first game, but I'm really confused by the ending, KG more than anything.

  • James Patrick

    F@#k Wade and his ugly ass kids. Calling Rondo a punk for that flagrant? Maybe he forgot rolling over Rondo's arm and almost tearing it off. What a little bitch he is. God I hate the Heat. I don't even hate the Lakers as much as I hate the Heat, that's how much I hate the Heat.

  • High Rollers

    Just looked like guys were playing hot potato a lot and letting the offensive scramble affect the other, arguably more important side of the equation.

  • High Rollers

    I like how emphatic Pierce was about the D in the postgame remarks. Nothing but the Truth. Actually saw some glimmers down the stretch in the fourth. Manufactured a few stops and off to the races.

  • SteveB

    Celtics played their B minus game on a night the Heat Played their A plus game. Heat couldn't miss even when the Celtics did play good defense. I think Doc needs to make the matchups work in his favor, tonight they didn't. Even with size on the bench you can't use it because the big guys aren't going to be able to guard Bosh effectively. I wondered what it would look like with Wilcox or Darko out there to plug the middle.
    As far as Wade and his comments, please. Bad enough with the stuff he has done in the past but the reason Rondo fouled him was because it seemed quite apparent Wade was going to try for a big dunk while up by double digits. Rondo was very content to let Wade dribble out the shot clock and take a 15 foot jumper but Wade wanted to rub it in and that's what happens.

    • jpbl1976

      I agree. He was clearly trying to run-up the score there in a bit of gamesmanship.

      I really don't know what's happened to that guy — he seemed like a thoughtful, nice fellow before then he became Finals MVP, seemed to suddenly lose his bond with a Hall of Famer whom he'd been eager to learn from (Shaq), got divorced and just generally became a villain — especially with those cheap shots on Rondo, Kobe (and I hate Kobe but it bears mentioning that if Kobe can appear somewhat sympathetic, you're probably doing something wrong) and a bunch of other dirty plays plus wanting to get paid to play in the Olympics and so forth.

      Seems pretty clear that all the fame, money and success has really turned him into a bit of a tool.

      He's still a damn good player but he isn't the guy I used to watch and think: "man, if only the Celtics had drafted that guy…"

    • CG12

      Seriously. DWade is a straight-up dick. What the heck happened to that guy?

  • SteveB

    Having this as the first game should only help and motivate this team. They know what needs work now. I'm not worried about Green, I think he'll find his place. Remember he hadn't played a regular season game in over a year. I was surprised Terry didn't have more impact and thought maybe that takes time but then Barbosa comes out there and lights it up after a week of practice.
    No panic in Beantown.

  • noche

    I learned two things last night:
    a) The Celtics are going to be really freakin good this year and
    2. The Heat are scary and probably better than they were last year.

    I can see this C's team, with everyone learning their defensive rotations, becoming the second best team in the league. Who's up for another 7 game ECF battle?

    • Anthony

      While I think the Heats are better than last year, I did think last nite's game was a bit of a fluke. No way Ray and Rashard shoots that well again all season.

      I've watched all the Celts preseason games and the main thing that comes to mind is that the Celts are FAST. And that's without AB and Barbosa. The defense will be an issue until the guys get that chemistry right but the Celts can just outscore/ outrun most teams in the meantime.

  • jpbl1976

    The Celtics are going to be fine.

    Put it this way, If I told you that Lebron would be Lebron, Wade would play well, Ray Allen would have his best game in months while Kevin Garnett would play like garbage (for his standards), Pierce would fade after a strong start and Jeff Green would play like he did pre-surgery, would you have expected the C's to have it within 4 with a little over 2 minutes remaining? Didn't think so.

    The Heat played about as well as they could (even if James did have cramps) and the Celtics played about as poorly as you'd expect and it was still close going into the final two minutes. Had the Celtics played Celtics defense instead of D'Antoni defense (which lead to a D'Antoni-era Barbosa performance, by the way), they'd have won.

  • CG12

    KG did look slow last night. The whole team was clearly not firing on all cylinders. It's all good, though. We just need a few games to get a rhythm going. I'm hoping to see the bench putting the wood to other team's bench players. Not a great night for the bench guys yesterday.

  • Brian

    -Played Last Preseason game Friday Night so not as much rust.
    -Established Rotation with only 2 new players integrating into their system.
    -Completely Healthy (not including Queen James PMS cramps and non factor Joel Anthony not playing)

    -Played Last Preseason game over a week and a half ago and it showed.
    -Trying to fit in multiple new and returning players into their schemes.
    -Injured Bradley and out of shape Wilcox didn't play. Two guys they will need against this team.

    Chill Out folks.

    • Brian

      Not making excuses for how bad the Celtics played last night. Just putting in perspective that this game isn't indicative of the Celtics being overmatched against Miami. Celtics will improve and this matchup will get tougher for the Heat each time.

  • check12check

    it feels so strange and kind of hurts me to say this, but it seemed to me like KG was a big part of the defensive problem rather than a solution to it. he just did not look good tonight. I don't think the article quite had it. to me, KG looked a step and a half slower than usual rather than a half. I'm going to chalk it up to one faulty game, but it is a touch worrisome that players who are supposed to be behind the success of this team were the ones who played badly tonight (except for RR. i've historically been a massive critic of his, but he really brought it tonight , and his game looks great right now. he did seem off on defense as well though). If we can get back to consistent and play defense that is not comparable to a sieve this will be a great team

    • Josh

      Totally disagree check. He had 12 boards and was only -4 when other guys on the team's + – were waaay worse. If you want to criticize KG, you'd be justified to look at his turnovers and make a case there.

  • Bruce

    If Jeff Green gets a C- than what does an F look like? Don't get me wrong I think he will get much much better as he becomes comfortable in the flow of the game again but seriously his performance last night was just terrible.

  • Kafel

    That b**ch Wade is having problem with Rondo's foul on him late in the game? How about his play when he dislocated Rondo's arm?? WTF? Damn, he is not only a whiner but also stupid.
    Celtics will be fine, it was first game and the next one should be W!

  • swissflix

    It takes Jeff Green 4 months to get 36. It takes Leandro Barbosa like 5 Minutes to get 14. Meanwhile, the captain looking sharp!

  • Cleveland want Lebron like I want a four-peat on NBA titles for the Pacers. I think they lost on propuse they tied for the worst record and they are in the east even memphis did better. I think, besides Denver, most of the lottery teams need PGs, PFs and Cs more than they need SF/SGs but why pass on the talent if he avrgs. 14ppg, 4rbs, and 4assts, and makes the highlight real regularly he’s still going to be a cash cow on any team even when his rookie contract runs out. So financially speaking regardless of the other top talent the media buzz makes LJ the best pick for financial reasons even if he was 5 7 and couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time.peac.e

  • I found so many fascinating stuff in your blog particularly in it’s comments. From the tons of comments in your posts, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here!