Post-game notes in Milan victory: C’s show return to form?

In an easy victory over Emporio Armani Milan, the Celtics appeared to be cruising especially in the fourth quarter. There were some positives seen in this game which signified adjustments made from last game, but I would attribute this win more to the opponent losing it rather than the Celtics putting their collective feet in the opponent’s throat.

Undisputedly the best news in the game. (via Boston Herald)

Some observations on the game:

  • The baseline three is something that has to be watched when the season begins. Every team in the NBA knows to exploit this, and there is almost always a guy in the corner waiting to sink that shot. I’m sure all of us have seen how the Spurs executed this to perfection last postseason. The Celtics appeared to be giving this away early in the game, but tightened down on closing out the open shooter. I love this adjustment.
  • Defending the pick and roll. Milan did not have quick slashing guard who could split the pick and roll defense, hence the lapse on defense was less seen here.
  • Rondo was simply amazing in the first quarter, making all of his shots and committing zero turnovers. He consistently made those elbow jumpers whenever the defense chose to sag and go under the screen. Make them pay! Look out NBA, this is what Rondo is going to light in your face come season start.
  • Jason Collins is pretty smart on offense and defense. He attempted to post up on offense, and passed it out when that didn’t work, setting the pick for the ball handler instead of forcing the issue.
  • The lineup with great defense but abysmal offense – Bass/Darko/Lee/Green with Smith at the one. You would have expected a lot of firepower in this bunch, but the obvious drop in ball-handling quality caused a lot of stagnation in ball movement. Green turned out to be the anchor in this lineup offensively. The lineup did much better when JET came on in place of Smith.
    Conclusion: Jamar Smith might not be good enough to make the roster if he does not show improvement in playing at the one.
  • Darko sets blatant moving picks. Sorry, green goggles aside, he is still moving too obviously for it to be ignored. Good old Perk-with-the-moving-screen days, here we go!
  • Courtney Lee is a monster at closing out on baseline threes. That is all.
  • Green is giving obvious impact on both ends of the floor in the second game running, I’m beginning to think that his contract is justified.
  • Darko is a monster shot blocker and post defender. There is much to be said about being a seven foot one man mountain, and this is one of those times. His lateral movement is still bad though.
  • As expected, Courtney Lee is way better at attacking the rim than he is at shooting threes. I’ll settle for the jams and drives, it’s good to have someone else other than PP and Rondo driving to the hoop.
  • JET is crazy good at reading the defenses when he’s driving, and kicking it out to the open shooting. Must be all that championship experience with the Mavs, they were really good at those passes.
  • Saving the best for the last – Sullinger is possibly the best draft pick we have had in the KG era. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and work the boards. The best part is, he actually is really good at them. I would like to see him in the starting lineup, because that would maximise his effectiveness. With Rondo’s drive and dish plus KG drawing his man out, Sully would have ample room to sneak in and finish under the rim, or clean the glass.

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