Just a few thoughts from the game: The ring ceremony and banner raising were awesome! I got goosebumps from "We are the Champions" playing. When I saw Pierce with the tears running down his cheeks I lost it. What an incredible moment to share. Scot Pollard was on hand to get his ring. PJ Brown wasn't there and of course, neither was James Posey. I have watched a few ring ceremonies, but this one was more emotional. Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's, it was expected that the Celtics would win. It was their rightful place. But, after the 22 year drought, I just appreciated this title so much more.
On to the game. The Celtics seemed a bit tight to begin the game and didn't take their first lead until the third quarter in which they outscored the Cavs 24-13 to take control of the game. One thing about this team is that they will never panic. They can always seem to pour it on when they need to. Defense once again keyed this win as the Celtics held the Cavs to 35 points in the second half. Speaking of defense, when they announced the coaches in the ring ceremony, Tom Thibodeau wasn't announced as an assistant coach, but as an associate head coach. Good move. He deserves it and he is a key to the Celtics' ability to repeat.
It is amazing that Pierce played as well as he did since he was so emotional during the ring ceremony, but he out played LeBron on both ends of the court. Pierce finished with 27 points while LeBron had 22. Pierce showed that he is ready to lead this team to another title.
KG (5-15) and Ray (2-9) were off offensively but Pierce had the hot hand and Rondo and the Bench picked up the slack. Rondo had 14 points (4-5), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Rondo is going to be even better this season than he was last season. I have never seen a player take as many hard hits as Rondo does and still get up and play on. He took 3 very hard hits in this game. And after every one, he got back up and played on. He is much tougher than he looks!
Tony Allen looked solid in this game. He finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and most importantly, no turnovers. He played under control and brought good energy off the bench. Leon Powe was great. He also brought great energy into the game and finished with 13 points on 5-7 shooting to go with 2 rebounds and a lot of hustle. I love this kid! Leon is going to make the leap to the next level this season.
The Celtics had 16 turnovers, which is still too many to have on a regular basis. They got away with it tonight because the Cavs had 21. The Celtics also shot only 61% from the free throw line, and that is something else they need to improve. The Cavs shot 73% from the line, but LeBron was only 4-8 and was only 2-4 in crunch time.
As for the rotation, Giddens, Walker and Cassell were on the inactive list. Patrick O'Bryant, Scal, and Gabe Pruitt were active, but didn't play. Ray Allen played over 40 minutes, Pierce played 38 and KG played 36. These minutes will probably decrease as the bench gains more experience and confidence.
Paul Pierce wins the first Tommy Award of the season. Final score 90-85. Great way to start the season!!