Just a few thoughts from the Celtics opening night win over the Cavs. The Celtics finally shook the monkey off their back and won in Cleveland for the first time since December of 2004. Counting the preseason, the Celtics are 2-0 against the Cavs this season. There were no antics on the Cavs bench during this game like there were the last time the Celtics played them last season. But I bet the Celts still remember every dance, laugh and slight from that game. It showed tonight.
The Celtics starters got off to a terrible start, down 13-2 to begin the game. In spite of the runs by the Cavs in the beginning it was interesting to see that Doc didn't panic and use up his time outs. I think there was just 1 time out in all the carnage that we saw to begin the game. That's a coach who knows his team.
Kevin Garnett looked good. He still isn't 100%, but he didn't back down from contact and played with confidence. A big part of returning from an injury like his is mental and sometimes it takes awhile to get back to playing physical again. Tony Allen still hasn't gotten that back from his first knee injury. Nice to see KG is already there, taking a lot of contact in a physical game and not pulling back any.
Paul Pierce is focused. I looked at his face shooting free throws toward the end of the game and he had his game face on. No frivolity, no smiles. All business. I think he lacked that somewhat last season and it's back again this season. He is focused and was clutch down the stretch.
Rondo hit a couple of key jumpers in this game. His jumper is coming along and it looks good enough to make teams think twice before leaving him alone. The shooting from beyond the arc last night was incredible. They were hitting everything. But the old statement that you live by the 3 and die by the 3 is still true. They were falling last night but they can't depend on them falling every night.
The bench on this team is very exciting. It was the bench that turned the game around last night. Last season, if the starters came in flat, the bench would be even flatter. But this season, even without Big Baby, when the bench comes in, the Celtics don't lose a whole lot. They have the defense with Sheed and Quisy and the shooting of Eddie House and the rebounding of Shelden Williams and when the starters sit this season, the bench is going to do some damage.
Nice win to start the season. It sends a statement to the Cavs, but it is just one win. There are 81 more games and so this team can't rest on their laurels. Every game will be a challenge. Every game they will need to focus. After watching them last night, I don't think that will be a problem.
Very good point. He is looking really good so far. Maybe the biggest bargain pick up of the offseason. I like what he brings. I really would like to see Tony's expiring contract turned into something useful before the trade deadline.