Boston Celtics clamp down Bobcats, 92-59: Running Diary

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another night, another low-scoring win.

I think that might become a pattern with this Celtics team. While the Bobcats clearly didn't come to play, a lot of credit has to be given to Boston's defense for the ugliness of Charlotte's offensive attack. And by attack, I mean an attack of misses, bricks and turnovers.

I wondered in my game preview where the Charlotte scoring would come from, and the answer was D) None of the above. They just don't have anyone capable of creating easy shots, and they had a bad matchup with a Boston team that thrives on making even good teams take low-percentage shots.

It's hard to take too much from an early-season game. Or even a couple early-season games. But if you can tell one thing about the Celtics, it's this: Their defense is going to be very, very good. It's not often one NBA team holds another to only 59 measly points and 31% shooting.

Two years ago, the Celts had the best defense in the league and one of the best the NBA has seen in many years.

This year, they have the potential to be even better. All the additions they made this offseason (Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, even Shelden Williams and Lester Hudson) are defensive-minded players with the ability to affect a game by stopping the other team from scoring. They don't have James Posey anymore, but Wallace and Daniels combined should provide more defense than Posey could by himself.

And on offense? Rajon Rondo continued to play great, unselfish basketball. If anyone thought he might be gunning for his own in an attempt to get a bigger contract, think again. Rondo has played absolutely selfless basketball in the first game, taking whatever the defense gives him and running the team almost flawlessly.

KG looked good, Pierce looked good and Ray looked good. Two games into the season, the world is smiling upon the Boston Celtics. 2-0. Only 71 wins to go, 'Sheed.

Here's a running diary from the game...

First Quarter

  • Here's what Paul Pierce had to say in his pregame speech: "You see up there? [pointing towards the rafters] There's only 17 of them. I think we need another one." Are you excited yet for the home opener? Is your blood boiling?

  • Brian Scalabrine will be out again. With Big Baby down, the Celtics will really miss him. Shelden Williams played yesterday and Doc said something to the effect of, "He's a lottery pick for a reason. We just have to get it out of him." Doc, he's also a huge bust for a reason.

  • The Celtics are up 8-0 before I even settled into my couch. They're running, they're gunning, and Garnett looks great. Perkins had a sequence where he blocked a Felton layup then went outside, guarded Felton on the perimeter and blocked him again. No, no, no, no, no! Charlotte usually plays Boston really tight, but don't expect this one to be. The Celtics are locked in.

  • Garnett now has two blocks, Perkins has two blocks. Did I mention there's still 8 minutes left... in the FIRST QUARTER! The Celtics interior defense could be pretty damn lethal.

  • Boris Diaw finally hits a jumper to get the Bobcats on the board with 7 minutes left. But Rondo answers with a jumper from the top of the key. Have I ever mentioned that his form looks way better?

  • Ew. I just noticed Gerald Wallace's hair. It's worse than Marquis Daniels'. It looks like he has sticks of black licorice coming off the back of his head. Don't think that's what he was going for.

  • The Celtics are starting to play sloppy basketball. They're playing down to their competition, which is, admittedly, poor.

  • KG's looking good. Then again, I would probably score on Diaw in the post.

  • Nazr Mohammed with a tip-in that gets waved off for offensive goaltending. Isn't it about the time the rest of his NBA career gets waved off too?

  • Tommy Heinsohn after Rondo blew by Augustin for an easy lay-in: "One thing we know about Augustin: He didn't make all-defense in college."

  • Rasheed is out here drilling threes. By hitting two in the first quarter, he probably already hit more than the Bobcats will all season. 22-12, Celtics.

  • The Bobcats just have no scoring. Even their top scorer, Gerald Wallace, is only a garbage guy who lives off second-chance points and fast breaks. I'd say DJ Augustin is their best pure scorer, and he happens to be their backup point guard.

  • My roommate: "Mohammed is Not-zee best basketball player." Truer words have never been spoken.

  • 22-13 to end the first quarter. Celtics will probably roll with this one. Charlotte just doesn't have the firepower to keep up.

    Second Quarter

  • Celtics up 25-15, but it could be a lot worse. The C's aren't making the easy ones. I'm betting they'll start, and when they do, this will be a blowout.

  • Tommy Heinsohn: "Guess who's in the game!?!? J.R.!! When an announcer gets that excited to see you, you know you aren't a very valuable player.

  • Bobcats slowly crawling back into the game. The second unit hasn't looked nearly as good as yesterday. They simply cannot put the ball in the bucket right now. 29-23, Bobcats. This game reminds me of a summer league game. Nobody can hit a jumper, and turnovers galore. Actually, that might be an insult to summer league.

  • During the commercial, I switched to the Knicks game just in time to see Darko Milicic hit a jump hook. Sadly, I then saw him do his own version of Deshawn Stevenson's "I can't feel my face" routine. Really. I'm not kidding. I felt like I would if Earl Boykins started posting up for an entire game. He's just not supposed to do that.

  • The Celtics have looked very lethargic since that first spurt. Maybe its the back-to-back games, maybe it's age, or maybe it's just that they realized they're playing the Bobcats.

  • The Celtics are just a lot more physically imposing than the Bobcats. At any given time, the 'Cats have Boris Diaw or Vlad Radmanovic guarding Perkins, Wallace or Garnett. Mismatch city. The Celtics will be too physical and too big for a lot of teams this season.

  • Another commercial, another switch to the Knicks game. Walt Frazier says, "If Daequan Cook improved his off-the-dribble game, he'd be an All-Star." Really, Walt? Or maybe he'd be good enough to start for the Kings.

  • Just realized I haven't had a score update in awhile. Thankfully, there hasn't been a lot of scoring. 39-31 Celtics.

  • Ray's missed a lot of jumpers tonight, but he's such a weapon to have. Rondo just pushed it ahead to an open Ray on the fast break, and all of a sudden an 8-point lead becomes an 11-point lead.

  • 42-31 Celtics at halftime. Ray Allen with 13 points is the only player in double figures. Somehow, I felt he was missing the whole half, but he ended up 4-7 from the floor. Huh? Celtics are really locking down, but their offense has been poor, poor, poor. I'm feeling an Eddie House outburst at some point in the second half. Why? I couldn't tell you.

    Third Quarter

  • Tommy Heinsohn with another gem: "Go to the hoop! This isn't the world's greatest defense their playing."

  • Quick 8-0 run by the C's to open up the second half. They're getting easy buckets, and not giving up any. That's usually a recipe for success, at any level of basketball.

  • Make it 10-0. Garnett jumper. The Celtics are now making the easy jumpers. Is 8 minutes left in the third too early for Red Auerbach to spark up his cigar?

  • Make it 12-0. Pretty play, Garnett pass to a cutting Rondo, Rondo wraparound pass to Perk, Perkins reverse dunk.

  • Make it 15-0. The Bobcats seem to have given up. Every Celtics jumper is uncontested, every layup easy. Larry Brown must be supremely pissed off.

  • The 21-0 run (including a brief 6-0 run to end the first half) is finally over. It only took the Bobcats six minutes to score their first second-half bucket. But a Pierce three and a fast-break Pierce dunk increase the run to 26-2, and the Celtics are up 29 points. Rondo has 10 assists, and the Celtics are making things look very, very easy.

  • Update: Red Auerbach is now DEFINITELY smoking a stogie. No doubt anymore... No matter how much time is left.

  • Gerald Henderson, Jr. scores two free throws for the Bobcats third and fourth points of the third quarter. Did I mention there are only three minutes left in the quarter?

  • Rondo is playing such great basketball these first two games. After yet another pretty feed to Perk, he now has 11 assists with 2 minutes to go in the third quarter. He hasn't forced any plays, he hasn't turned the ball over, and he is taking whatever the defense gives to him. You can't run a team much better than Rondo has these first two games. You just can't.

  • The third quarter is now over. The Bobcats ended the quarter with a running Raymond Felton jumper, to give them a whopping total of 10 points scored for the quarter. 67-41 Celtics. Don't expect to see a lot of the Big Three in the final stanza.

    Fourth Quarter

  • Charlotte shooting 28% so far. Scorching the nets.

  • Eddie misses his first three of the fourth quarter. I predicted him to have a big outburst in this second half, and I stand by my prediction. Eddie kills in garbage time.

  • Shelden Williams pulls down a rebound in traffic. He's got a strong set of hands, and positions his body well.

  • Lester Hudson gets his first minutes as a Celtic. Almost immediately, he gets a steal and a nice assist to a wide-open Marquis Daniels. I LOVVVEEE LESSTTAAAHHHHH!

  • The Bobcats are starting to get a few easy buckets as the C's have their 12th-man lineup in the game. Unfortunately for them, they're down 28 points. Which amounts to approximately three more quarters of scoring they'd have to do to come back.

  • House finally hits a jumper with 6 minutes left. There's still time for a barrage of threes to validate my prediction. Please, Eddie.

  • Giddens reminds me of Tony Allen as he picks up a foul flying into a jump-shooter. And being compared to Tony Allen is never, ever a good thing.

  • Eddie with a three! I'm in the process of being validated. I can feel it. The House is starting to burn up.

  • Eddie with another three, his third jumper in a row. Don't ever bet against House catching fire in a blowout. Ever.

  • I officially am really liking Shelden Williams' game. He does the little things well, gets rebounds and plays within himself. If he could just stop himself from shooting jumpers once in a while, the Celtics might have found themselves a real steal.

  • I didn't watch the last few minutes. Not that it mattered. My roommate wanted to watch the Yankees, and it was tough to convince him that watching a 30-point blowout was more important than watching the World Series. I tried to tell him he doesn't really want to watch the Yankees lose game one, but he didn't agree. Either way, the Celtics are 2-0 and the Yankees are down 2-0. It's a good night.

    Note: Videos thanks to Red's Army.

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