For the first time in 20 years, the Celtics have started the season 4-0. The last team to do so was the 1987-88 team, which went to the Eastern Conference finals, started 6-0 and ended up winning 57 games. This was the last trip to the finals for the original Big Three. But the thing about this team is that they are doing it with defense and that is a very exciting thing.
This game started out like it was going to be a war through out. The lead went back and forth and it was tied at 24 in the second. But then the Celtics turned it up a notch and never looked back. KG was impressive in this game, doing everything on the court and finishing with 27 points (12-16), 19 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks in 38 minutes. The only blemish in his game was the fact that he also had 6 turnovers. Perk played 29 minutes and had only 2 fouls. Along with KG, he helped to anchor the defense in the middle, changing shots, blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and blocking out to allow KG to get to many others. Perk finished with 4 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.
Pierce made good on his promise to play better defense by taking 3 charges in the game. He finished with 23 points on 8-15 shooting to go with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in 37 minutes. As with KG, the only flaw in Pierce's game was 5 turnovers. Ray Allen had a quiet game playing within the flow finishing with 14 points (6-9), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 35 minutes.
Rondo hit a couple of jumpers in the game and looked comfortable taking them. He finished with 6 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Eddie House had his best game as a Celtic coming up big off the bench. He finished with 19 points on 7-10 shooting to go with 2 rebounds and 5 assists and only 1 turnover in 26 minutes of play. Gabe Pruitt got in for the final 3:21 and showed his nice shooting touch. He finished with 4 points and 1 assist. Tony played well and continues to fight his way back from the injury with 4 points, 1 assist and some solid defense.
Scal took an elbow to the nose and went down hard. He lay on the court for some time and looked very groggy. He walked off the court to the locker room, but he was taken from the Garden on a stretcher with a concussion. He won't be playing tomorrow night and so we should see more of Leon Powe with both Scal and Posey out. Powe played 2:16 in this game and finished with 2 points and 1 rebound. He always seems to make the most of any minutes he gets. Big Baby seems to be a fan favorite as he came into the game to an ovation and finished with 3 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 3:53. Pollard, Posey and Wallace did not play.
The Celtics continued their superb passing with 30 assists on 41 baskets. For a time in the 3rd quarter, they allowed the Hawks to gain some ground and cut the lead to 8. They stopped moving the ball and there was way too much dribbling and they turned the ball over several times because of it. Doc called a time out and told them they had to stop dribbling so much and get back to passing the ball and finding the open man and to their credit, that is exactly what they did.
At one point in the game, KG was out-rebounding the entire Hawks team. The Celtics finished by out-rebounding the Hawks by 10, 39-29. For the second game in a row, the Celtics had way too many turnovers, finishing with 18 but they did force the Hawks into 19 turnovers. The Celtics shot 61.2% from the field and held the Hawks to 42%.
The Celtics have been dominant so far but now they face a big test. They are playing in back to back games against a very good NJ Nets team that was picked by many to win the Atlantic. The Nets were off on Friday and The Celtics 3 stars all played 35+ minutes. The Celtics will be traveling after the game and won't have the friendly crowd to get them going. Also, the funeral for Doc's father is Saturday morning and he is planning on joining the team but may or may not coach the team. They have a lot going against them so this should be a big test and will go a long way to determine just what this team is made of.