Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and all of Celtics Nation were ready to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. I turned on the pregame show, grabbed game time snacks and sat down hoping to see win number three.  Once again, the Boston Celtics did not disappoint!

The ball was thrown and the battle began.  Theis didn’t get the opening tip, but it was a slow start for both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Shot attempt Cavs, no good…shot attempt Cs, no good. This went on for what felt like an eternity, then finally at almost three minutes into the game Kemba Walker hits a three pointer, and we were on our way! At the end of the first quarter, the Celtics were up 22-17.

The Celtics defense was nothing short of amazing.  It didn’t matter what the offense brought, our guys were like a well oiled machine and nothing was getting past them easily.  Blocks were abundant and the guys were fighting for each rebound and second chance shots.  I can’t wait to see more plays like the flip-pass Marcus Smart made to “Time Lord” for the finish at the end of the second quarter. For the first time in a very long time, I feel our identity as a defensive team is back.

Offensively the Celtics brought their game!  Leading the pack was Max Strus.  Coming in cold off the bench he sinks his first three-pointer. In the 17 minutes on the floor, he managed to score 14 points all together.  Strus admitted in a post game interview that it’s not easy to come off the bench and play like that, but if that’s his role he’s going to do it and do it well.

https://twitter.com/GeePeeBrandon/status/1183543487981129728

Kemba Walker wasn’t too far behind with 12 points.  I understand that preseason is not so much for our veterans, but I love seeing Kemba out on the floor.  He makes the game of basketball look so easy!  Tremont Waters didn’t disappoint either, he tallied up 11 points, four assists, and two rebounds.  Solid play from a solid rookie.  Together, through excellent ball movement and play making skills, the Boston Celtics dominated the entire 48 minutes; at one point even held a 54 point lead.  No one can complain about that.

While it may be points that ultimately decides the winner at the end of the game, there’s a few numbers I like to focus on; assists, rebounds and turnovers.  It’s in these three areas that I feel the points come from and therefore determine the outcome of any game.  Last night the Celtics had 28 assists, 17 more than the Cavs.  Without ball movement, there’s no scoring.

If the C’s keep the opposing team’s defense running, they’ll find the open man every single time. Hats off to Coach Stevens for creating such beautiful plays.  The Celtics were nearly even with rebounding, which for some reason they have always struggled with.  I’m hoping that with the addition of Enes Kanter, rebounding will improve and we’ll get even more second chance shots as well as take them away from our opponents.

Lastly, turnovers.  I’m often shouting for the guys to leave the turnovers at Mike’s Pastries. They can’t be sloppy in any way that takes the ball out of our hands. The Cavs had 27 turnovers last night that allowed the Celtics fifteen fast break points!  The C’s were fortunate that their 18 turnovers didn’t cause too much damage. In the regular season, in a game that’s down to the last .02 seconds; those turnovers will haunt us.

Even with the final score being 118- 72, it’s The Happy Bench that really stood out to me.  Arm in arm, smiles galore and Kemba’s leg kick move, gives me hope that the Boston Celtics are a team that loves the game and each other.  The vets are cheering on the rooks, and the rookies are respecting our vets.  It’s a good day in Celtics basketball.

With one more preseason game to play, the Celtics are poised to go into the regular season with determination and the chance to shock and awe the NBA world.  “I’m ready, are you?”

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