It wasn't pretty, but the Celtics will take it. In a game that was marked by turnovers and a lack of defense, it took an overtime and a shot at the buzzer from Delonte to get their first win.
The Celtics started out slowly, falling behind quickly, but fought back behind the play of the bench to come within 4 at the half. Wally woke up for the 4th period and hit 4 straight 3's to get the Celtics on a roll. They led by as many as 10 before blowing an 8 point lead over the final 1:29 of the game. Our defense has got to improve or we are in for a long year!
Theo Ratliff played his first game of the season and made his presence immediately felt by blocking Emeka Okafor's first shot. He was a presence in the paint, causing several shots to be altered. Kandi also played well last night, scoring 8 points and grabbing 3 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Perk had another off night picking up 5 fouls in only 9 minutes of play.
The player who did most to step up and fill the gap left by Jefferson's absence was Ryan Gomes. Gomes recorded his first triple double of his career with 10 points 12 rebounds and 10 assists. As always, he played a very efficient game with very few mistakes. Another player who recorded a triple double, but would rather not talk about it, was Paul Pierce with 35 points 12 rebounds and 12 turnovers. In all my years of watching basketball, I have never seen a player get 12 turnovers. Wally also turned the ball over too much chalking up 5 turnovers for the game. It is scary when your best two players combine for 17 turnovers in a game.
In a night of oddities, Delonte West once again moved to the PG spot and backed up Telfair while Rondo was the only DNPCD on the team. Doc said that he hoped that moving Delonte back to the point would help his confidence and get him back on track. In my opinion, this is just confusing the poor guy who is working on forgetting that he is a PG and trying to be a 2 guard. Despite shooting only 3 of 10 from the floor, Delonte hit the big shot when it counted. Pierce drove the lane to the basket and had 4 Bobcats collapsing on him when he kicked the ball out to a wide open Delonte who calmly hit the 20 foot game winner. It was Delonte's first game winner of his career.
In spite of Leon Powe possessing the closest game to Al's and who could have filled in for him quite well, judging by his play in the preseason, Doc opted to put Powe on the IL and activate Scal because of his experience. Not the smartest move in my opinion. In the words of Danny Ainge, just because they are veterans, it doesn't mean they are good.
I think the most disturbing element of this game was our lack of intensity and our lack of defense. We seemed a little flat all game. If we played that way against a better team, we would have been beaten soundly. We have to play better defense. If the coach with his myriad of defensive sets can't teach them defense, then the players need to take it on themselves to play aggressive D every time down. For a team to have an 8 point lead with 1:29 to go in the 4th and then have to go to overtime, is inexcusable. But as I said at the start. It wasn't pretty, but I'll take it.