Celtics 121 Nets 105
Rajon Rondo woke up from a nap one hour before regular season tipoff and declared himself health enough to play. Brad let him play, but capped him at 30 Minutes. It didn’t deter any greatness, as Rondo went 6-9 from the Field (1/3 from Three) for 13, 12, and 7 with a Steal and a Block.
The feeling all along was that he would play. Being that it’s his contract year and he’s missed significant minutes due to injuries, he didn’t really have a choice. Rondo plays with pride in every sense of the word. He doesn’t let an injury hold him back any longer than it needs to. Danny Ainge continues to say– with great confidence– that this will be a career-year for Rondo. If he plays anything like this on a nightly basis, that’s pretty darn good. (He did miss all four of his free-throw attempts, which is completely unacceptable)
This win was by no means a one man effort. Eight Celtics scored in double figures:
- Jeff Green had 17, 6, 3, and 2 Steals on 4/10 Shooting. The shooting isn’t pretty, but he was 2-3 from Three and was 7/9 from the Free-Throw line. It’s the aggressiveness that’s extremely encouraging. This is what Brad– and Doc before him– have been trying desperately to get out of Jeff, and it looks like it might finally be clicking.
- Jared Sullinger: 14, 4, 2 and 2 Blocks on 5/9 Shooting(1/3 from Three). Inactive on the boards, but the 2 Blocks is a nice stat. And there’s nothing to dislike about the efficient offense. He took five fewer shots than Olynyk, so how shots get distributed between them is going to be something to pay attention to going forward. This was a bit of a quiet game for Jared after a flashy preseason, but he didn’t need to takeover. Especially with seven other guys providing good offense.
- Kelly Olynk: Team-high 19 Points (8/14; 1/2) with 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists and a Steal. He had a highlight-worthy buzzer beater at the end of the 3rd to put the Cs up 101-72. A baseline spin on Brook Lopez into an awkward sideways fade away that could only be described as Bird-esque. Scroll to 1:45 here to see for yourself: . This was a great game for Olynyk, and a great way to start the season in his sophomore campaign.
- Avery had 15 Points on 7/13 (1/3). He had goose eggs in every other major category, which is likely why he was the only starter with a negative +/- PER Differential.
- Marcus Smart had a great NBA debut with 10 Points (3/7; 1/4) 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, and 4 Steals. He’s going to spoil Cs fans with that defense. Believe me, multiple-steal games are going to be frequent going forward. As long as he continues to shoot it efficiently, he is a realistic candidate for rookie recognition awards.
- Marcus Thornton had 10 Points (4/6; 1/2) and 1 Block. Nothing crazy, this is what he does. He comes in and scores.
- Finally, Evan Turner was superb with 10, 7, 5, 1, and 1 in 24 Minutes on 5/9 Shooting. I’m really loving his presence on the team. He does a little bit of everything, and tonight he did it with great effort. Don’t get used to juiced statlines like this one, but he should continue being a consistent contributor.
The Celtics shot 55.7% from the Field to Brooklyn’s 48.8%, taking only eight more shots than the Nets. The big difference came down to ball security. As a team Boston Turned it Over 13 times, while Brooklyn was a bit more careless with 21. Both teams shot it well, but Boston shot it especially well. They spread it around, and everyone had something to give. What’s more, the Cs had 28 Assists and the Nets only had 20.
So, 55% from the Field and 28 Assists means Rondo’s impact on ball movement is that important. He runs the offense and makes things happen. I don’t know that last year’s Celtics ever put up anything close to 121 Points. They did, however, play great defense, so it will be crucial to find a balance between the two.
The Celtics looked great. They can establish a little momentum to start the season, though their November schedule is a bit daunting on paper. To continue playing great basketball, they will collectively have to build upon what they accomplished as individuals in this game.
Next up is Houston on Saturday.
Homer Johnsen is a freelance writer who thinks about the Celtics like Stephen Hawking thinks about space. See his reactions after every game right here on HeresTheDealLikeShaquille.