Well, this game certainly fell below everyone’s expectations. If you think about it, the game did pan out in a way that parallels what the team is right now. An entirely new bench, Pierce and KG being a year older, and Bradley still out. Compare that with the Heat, who basically kept the same roster while adding Ray and Rashard, making for better continuation and team chemistry. Factor LeBron’s usual destructive firepower into the equation, and it was quite obvious that the Heat would have swept this. That didn’t keep us green-tinted goggle wearers from hoping though!
It felt like Rondo was out of control in this game. Pierce was caught on the mic shouting at Rondo to “stop thinking too much, we need you to play ball”. Rondo seemed frustrated and out of sync, obviously not in playoff mode. Perhaps it was everyone’s poor movement that caused his inability to spread the ball as well. Rondo seems to be making passes that are way too slow, an observation made since preseason. Those slow passes need to stop.
Tons of open baskets. Poor baseline coverage, and KG seemed a to be a little out of his usual defensive matador mode. We have come to expect so much from KG’s defensive intensity, that when he fails to deliver his usual standards, it seems abnormal. The defensive energy was missing, everyone seemed to be slow, Rondo gambled on steals too much.
The Heat’s crazy switching and double teams on defense caused a lot of problems. Guys couldn’t get free, took uncomfortable shots (excluding Bass), and Pierce was about the only person outside of Bass who kept his head and played his usual game. Pierce scored a team high 23 points.
JET seemed to be handling Ray pretty badly on defense. Same went with Lee, who had problems with Wade’s adept footwork. That’s two bad matchups in this game, let’s see if this improves down the stretch.
The Bass man delivers
Battier knew what he was doing, and forced Bass to take the ball at the three line. This made Bass pretty uncomfortable with his dribble, and resulted in a few bad possessions. Bass however kept his game on, and hit jumper after jumper, even crashing the offensive glass for rebounds. I would say he was one of the best Celtics in this game, notching 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Green seemed uncertain today, and did not go into his usual aggressive isolation sets. No cuts either. If he continues playing passively, we are in for a bad time – a large part of this season depends on him getting into his rhythm and scoring to back PP’s load up.
If there was a human definition of instant offense, Barbosa was it today. He was 6 for 8 FG, 3/3 from 3P in the fourth quarter, sparking a run that closed the gap (when LeBron was off the court). I’m looking forward to seeing him play in transition. JET on the other hand, seemed frustrated on offense. He scored 8 points with zero from 3P, an absolutely unusual stat for the JET.
Random trivia: KG ignored Ray, who walked over to shake hands with the coaches and gave him a pat on the shoulder. Nothing important, as they seemed to bump fists after that.
Ray scored 19 points, including a lucky bank shot 3 over Lee. Not a bad number for an opening game against his old team, hopefully this was a fluke.
A discouraging start to the season, let’s forget this one and look to bettering the record in the games ahead.