A week of the 2019-2020 season is in the books for the Boston Celtics and it shows nothing but promise. There were many running around in the social media panic lane after the loss to Philly, but I for one, am happy to say, was not.
Obviously the Boston Celtics offense was less than desired during the season opener, but I definitely would not say it was signally how it’s going to be all year long. Neither Kemba Walker nor Jayson Tatum are likely to have slumps like that on a regular basis. In my opinion, Kemba was feeling the pressure of wearing the Boston Celtics uniform for the first time; As I tweeted “simmah down” to the panicking public that evening. I will say it again today… once the pressure releases off his shoulders; Kemba’s shots are going to fall.
I was proven right in the second half of game two when the Celtics faced the reigning champs, the Toronto Raptors in their home opener. Anticipation was in the air and the mood was high at TD Garden that night. The first half had a similar story line for our star point guard; getting lots of looks he wanted but nothing was falling. But then it happened; Kemba remembered who he was and buckets began to drop. I couldn’t help screaming from my living room, “Welcome to the Garden Kemba Walker!” I was pumped and so was every other Boston Celtics fan. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard the cheers from the Garden all the way up here in Maine! Panic mode traffic was beginning to halt and after Kemba’s 32 point show against the Knicks, it all but stopped.
Kemba wasn’t the only one finding his rhythm these past few games. Rookie Grant Williams has certainly made his entrance to Boston known. It’s safe to say he’s solidified his place in the hearts of Celtics Nation, as well as a viable member coming off the bench. Much like Marcus Smart, his impact doesn’t always find it’s way to the box score, but his hustle, grit and play-making ability can determine the outcome of the game. Guarding any size opponent like a two year veteran and even scoring at times; this young man was a great find! I personally feel he was robbed of the “Tommy Award” in Game 3 against the Knicks. Please don’t get me wrong, I love Tacko Fall and I’m happy for him to win, but Grant’s performance was outstanding and deserved recognition.
This week in review would be incomplete without commenting on the performance from Jaylen Brown. After signing the $115 million dollar extension, fans were concerned he wouldn’t play with as much fervor he has in the past. But as Max Lederman stated on the Celtics Center Podcast, “It’s going to make him work harder.” Jaylen has certainly proven Max’s words to be true. Although his aggressiveness got him into foul trouble early in the first game, regardless of your opinion of the officiating went, I loved seeing him defending his man more consistently and driving into paint, while making old fashioned three point plays. With this type of hard work, he’s only going to get better as the season continues.
My only concern moving forward is Brad Wanamaker. I feel as though he’s trying to prove his value to the team, but going about it in the wrong way. In the second game of the season, Brad Stevens gave Wanamaker a lot of minutes. In those minutes on the floor, I saw a lot of ISO play, and it brought flashbacks of Terry Rozier. Terry was unable to accept his role, and tried to be the superstar we didn’t need. If Wanamaker continues in the pattern we saw the other night, with extended minutes on the court, the Boston Celtics offense will suffer; and consequently our defense will have to work harder. Even further than that, it could potentially lead to locker room trouble and disrupt the chemistry we are currently seeing and love.
As Brad Stevens often says, “It’s a long season,” and “don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows.” I want to encourage all Celtics fans to follow our coach’s advice. We’re going to have some great wins and losses that will hurt deep, but remember, we’re in a marathon, not a sprint. (Yes, stealing a phrase from Carsen’s postgame interview). So stay loyal, don’t panic or tweet something you’ll regret the next day, and as always, BLEED GREEN.