Finally we see a blowout win in the Celtics’ favor, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Running all over the Knicks on our home court was a great confidence boost for this team that has been struggling the past few games. It was easy to see how fed up they were with their level of play their past couple games, and made sure they made a statement on their home court against one of the NBA’s “super teams.” Jokes. But seriously, a win against the division rival was going to be a challenge, but the Celtics finally stepped up and picked up arguably their biggest win of the season so far. Let’s review the goods and bads of this matchup.
- Rebounding!!! We finally learned how not to get outrebounded by 20 rebounds!!! Okay, we gave up a crap ton of offensive rebounds, which came in little spurts.
But although we gave up 21 offensive rebounds, we grabbed 19 of our own. We were actually fighting for boards this game, and I saw something that I hadn’t seen at all this season. Tyler Zeller boxed out to grab a rebound. What? A box out? I didn’t think the Celtics even knew what that was. Brad must’ve had the guys go through hella box out drills at practice. I like what I saw, but it can’t be a one-time thing. We got to continue to fight for rebounds and limit the opponent on offensive boards.
- Hey we survived the first quarter! We didn’t give up a monstrous lead and dig ourselves into a hole that we wouldn’t ever get ourselves out of. Giving up big first quarters to opponents would often lead to our eventual doom, so starting the game out strong definitely helped us stay in this game.
- Coach Stevens’ change to the starting lineup worked well. Moving Smart and Olynyk to the starting lineup while moving Jaylen and Zeller to the second unit gave us a huge boost on defense and even offense. Smart finished with 12 points, ten assists, and six rebounds, while Olynyk finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and three three-pointers. Marcus’ smothering defense helped keep the Knicks’ to only 87 points, while Kelly’s much-needed offensive boost helped us score 115 points. It feels real good to have these two back, it really does.
- Speaking of Jaylen Brown, here’s something I observed from him last night. This kid can be a lethal scorer for this team, especially off of the bench. To do that, he needs to continue to be an absolute workhorse and bust his ass during every practice and every game. He needs to continue to put in more and more hours at the gym and work harder than everybody else. The way he was bullying guys in the paint made it seem like he’s been in the league for years. He was aggressive when it came to driving to the basket and grabbing rebounds. He’s very mature for his age and has a very high basketball IQ. Jaylen can be very special in this league but needs to continue to want to get better and play harder than anybody else on that court. I’m excited to see how he turns out in the future.
- Half of the Knicks’ team getting ejected did nothing but help us the rest of the way. So… Thanks for the early Christmas gift.
- Free throws. Oh my goodness, the free throws. We got to the free throw line 43 times. 43! The Knicks went to the line 17 times. We didn’t give up any stupid fouls and limited them at the line. You’d think Isaiah went to the line for 20 of those 43 attempts, but nope, he only visited the line eight times. Everybody was aggressive getting to the basket and were actually trying to draw contact and fouls. I’d be happier with this performance if it weren’t so overdue. I’m happy, don’t get me wrong, but like I said with the rebounding, this can’t be a one-time thing. We need to continue to be aggressive and get to the line efficiently.
- The defense looked great. Allowing only 87 points is the lowest mark of the season. Not only that, but we forced 25 turnovers and stole the ball 16 times.
It was a great defensive performance from all players from the starters to the bench. We played with that heart and hustle that went missing from last season. Love to see it.
- Avery Bradley got his fourth double-double this season in just eight games so far. Before this season he only had two career double-doubles. Do I smell All Star or is that just me?
- So should we talk about that Isaiah guy? 29 points in total, 23 in the first half alone. He’s the leader on this team, plain and simple. He’s one of the best scorers in the league, plain and simple. He’s an elite point guard, plain and simple. There’s not much Isaiah can’t do. He’s just so efficient and consistent and plays harder than anybody else. He plays with the most heart out of anybody and looks like he has the most fun playing basketball. Heart over height, all day every day.
And this pass. Oh this pass. *insert heary eye emojis*
- Remember when I said it’s never a good sign if James Young is getting playing time unless we’re the ones blowing teams out? This is the only time I ever want to see James Young on a basketball court, ever.
- I talked highly about Jaylen Brown and free throw shooting earlier, but here’s a complaint about the two together. I’m all for Jaylen Brown continuing to be aggressive and getting to the line a bunch, but he needs to improve his free throw shooting. He missed four straight free throws last night, and although it isn’t a game changer, it can be in close games. I love Jaylen’s aggressiveness getting to the basket and drawing contact, but you got to make your free throws man. I want him to stay in the gym an extra hour after practice just shooting free throws. That’s an order.
That’s all I got for the “bads” of this game, so, bravo Boston.
This was a much-needed win for the short-handed Boston Celtics. They’re still dealing with injuries but hopefully have now learned to adjust to it. I actually enjoyed watching the Celtics play last night, and that’s something that hasn’t been said a lot so far this season. Hopefully now the guys got their heads out their asses and learned their lesson. We got our two bad games out of the way early, so down the line, we won’t be seeing much more of those. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, please give me a healthy Celtics’ team. Please. When Al and Jae were healthy, we were waiting for the returns of Marcus and Kelly. Now it’s the other way around. Once everybody’s back and healthy, we’ll be deadly. Quote me on that.
Eight down, 74 to go. On to Indiana. #4-4 #AllAbout18