Tonight was the 61st anniversary of the first game that Red Auerbach coached in and before the game, they announced that the parquet would be known as the Red Auerbach court from now on. The Red Sox were also honored before the game as they came out onto the floor with their World Championship trophy wearing Celtics shirts.
The Celtics came out tight at first and didn't make their first field goal until 9 minutes left in the first quarter when Perk went up for a dunk. KG's first shot was so hard that it bounced off the backboard and almost back to half court. But once they started to loosen up, they dominated on both ends of the floor. They led by 3 at the end of one and by 22 at the half. Our much maligned bench did a great job of stretching the lead out in the second quarter.
The most impressive thing about this game was the defense. They played great team defense as well as individually. The Wizards were held to 35% shooting from the floor and were 0-16 from beyond the arc for a new NBA record. The Celtics also kept up their ball movement to find the open man registering 10 assists on 39 baskets.
Player of the game and Tommy Award winner was Kevin Garnett. He finished the night with 22 points, 20 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks in 38 minutes of play. But it was his intensity that was most impressive. With the team up by 20 and 2 minutes to play in the game, KG was off the bench yelling encouragement to his teammates on the floor like it was a tied game in the playoffs. In one play, he got a steal and in one motion sent a behind the back no look pass to Pierce in the post for a layup. Plays like that are going to make this team so dangerous.
Perk finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block in 25 minutes. He didn't have a great game statistically, but I have realized that Perk's value to this team isn't going to be in the stat book. He played great defense and was able to change a lot of shots in the paint. He also sets picks and blocks out under the basket allowing his teammates to grab the rebounds. I guarantee that we wouldn't have won as easily if Perk wasn't in the game. Scott Pollard saw his first action as a Celtic and was clearly rusty finishing with 3 fouls and 1 block in 9 minutes.
Rondo did a good job of running the team and showed that he can hit the open jumper, finishing with 15 points on 7-10 shooting to go with 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals along with playing very good defense on Gilbert Arenas. House and Tony Allen shared the back up poing guard duties with House finishing with 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 15 minutes and Tony finishing with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 16 minutes.
Pierce played very well. He seems a lot more fluid and plays with more energy out there on the court. He still drives into traffic and turns the ball over too many times, though. He finished with a game high 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in 39 minutes. Ray Allen also had a good game scoring 17 points on 5-10 shooting with 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 38 minutes.
Scal played more minutes than I would have liked him to play, but hopefully with Posey coming back for the next game, those minutes will be cut. He scored 9 points on 4-9 shooting with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He did make a few nice plays and played with a lot of energy. Powe and Big Baby got into the game for the final 2:30 but weren't a factor.
As for Arenas, who guaranteed a Wizards win in his blog, he shot 5-20 from the floor and finished with 4 turnovers. The crowd chanted "Gilbert" to him several times and every time he touched the ball, he was showered with boos. After the game he said how much he loved the atmosphere in the Garden, which he likened to a college atmosphere. Speaking of chants, the MVP chants have already started in the first game.
The final score was 103-83 and the result was never in doubt from the first quarter on, although the Wizards did cut the lead to 16 at one point after it had ballooned to 27 in the third quarter. And, the Celtics weren't even at their best. If this game is any indication, it is going to be a very good year for Celtics fans!