Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Game 2 of the preseason is in the books and the Boston Celtics walk away with a win in Orlando,100-75, without All-Star point guard Kemba Walker but receiving a great showing from their wing trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward.

 

The Boston Celtics walked into Orlando’s Amy Center fresh off a win on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets, only today they would be missing All-Star point guard Kemba Walker. A question on how this team would respond minus the superstar point guard and Orlando’s big man starting lineup was answered in the first quarter of the game, as Boston Celtics ran out ahead 35-11 in the first quarter. It was clear that the Celtics were determined to show that the next man up mantra was alive and well! Here are some takeaways from the game:

No Kemba, no problem

Kemba Walker sat out last night’s game to rest with knee inflammation. It does not sound like it will be an issue as we head into the season, however the Boston Celtics team sat him out as a precautionary measure. Brad Stevens gave first-team-all-defense point guard, Marcus Smart, the nod to start along with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Daniel Theis. It was a great move as Marcus Smart, ever the floor general, did not shy away from the responsibility; making sure that ball movement and defense was the primary focus. It worked as the Boston Celtics closed out the first quarter with a 24 point lead!

Speaking of ball movement

From the first shot you could tell this team of starters were focused and prepared, as the ball movement and shot selection were almost a dance lesson on what is good Celtics basketball. The isolation play that plagued this team last season seemed almost non existent as players made good decisions and kept each other involved by making one more pass to the open man. It was clear as Marcus Smart was able to hit three open 3 pointers in the first four minutes of the first quarter.

The ball movement was great throughout the game, most of the Celtics have bought into the importance of sharing the ball to get the best shot available. The only dark spot on this was Brad Wanamaker and Semi Ojeleye, as they seemed to forget that isolation ball was left in the last season. They slowed the pace on a few possessions causing a few turnovers and left other players standing around to make a desperation play. One thing the Celtics need to take into the season – KEEP THE BALL MOVING!

 

Romeo Langford’s debut

Romeo Langford finally hit the court after an 8 month hiatus due to his thumb injury and most recently a groin strain. Langford checked in midway into the 3rd quarter. He got his first rebound and made a basket in under a minute. He only scored one basket, but you can see he has an eye for the game. It was only one game, hopefully we will see more of him in the third preseason game against the Cavaliers on Sunday. I am definitely interested in seeing what he can do for this bench.

 

The Wings looked good

At the beginning of the season, I questioned whether Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown could co-exist because it seemed like they struggled with playing together over the last season. Last night’s game proved that they can and do it beautifully. Hayward, Tatum and Brown did a great job playing aggressively and attacking the basket through the game.

 

All three players showed not only their ability to take and make shots – but to pass and facilitate as well. Look at this dime from Jaylen to Gordon which resulted in a Gordon slam

 

Not only did this show that Gordon Hayward is healthy, it shows that Jaylen has been working on his passing ability and he’s looking for the open man instead of taking the shot. For fans like me who wondered how we can perform running three wings, the answer is – pretty well.ย  The trio dropped 35 of the Boston Celtics points in roughly 24 minutes of play. And boasted an average plus/minus of 24. Sure it’s Orlando, but if they can keep up this same effort going into the season, the Boston Celtics are going to be good.

The Rookies and Tackomania

Tremont Waters had one of his best games in a Boston Celtics uniform. It was not the points that he put on the board, but it was the plays he was able to make. Even with being undersized, he was confident driving to the hole between a long Orlando defense. He also is a good passer and found Grant Williams for some decent baskets. Waters also does a great job on half court defense. I love that both he and Carsen Edwards meet their man at the half court and start the pressure. It helps to give our defense to set and makes it easier to cause turnovers.

 

Carsen Edwards is a walking bucket! Like Waters, he drives to the basket and doesn’t give up a play. I am looking forward to seeing more from him as the season progresses. Grant Williams does a great job of using his basketball IQ to be in the right spots. Similar to Al Horford (moment of silence please) he knows how to make winning plays; something the ball club will need throughout the season.

No Celtics blog is worth it’s salt without a Tacko Fall mention. Fall checked in during the 4th quarter and fan reaction did not disappoint. He did not have a great game, but his presence is definitely one that bolsters the bench. He is for sure loved by the players and fans!

Celtics Nation how you feeling?

I decided to ask some of my Twitter followers how they felt about the Boston Celtics now that we have two games under our belt – here are some of their reactions:

Of course there are still some misgivings after the Celtics struggles from last season:

I think we can all agree that this team is looking a lot better than what we ended with last season. If we can keep this same pace, defensive intensity, and continue playing for each other; there is no reason why the Boston Celtics should not be making noise in the East.

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