Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heat, Allen Scorch Celtics In "Ring Night" Opener

Well, that didn’t go so well.

After the ring ceremony for the (prepare to hold nose in 3...2...1) Wurdd Chabbiod Biabi Heed (release nose...), the Boston Celtics proceeded to drop their season starter in Miami by an unlucky thirteen points.

In a game marked by the debut in a Heat uni of newly hired gun, Benedict Ray Allen, who put up 19 ultra-nonchalant, "in your green mugs" points on 5-7 shooting – 2-3 on threes (hey, at least he missed one of his eight free throws!), the Celtics seemed more interested in reintroducing themselves to each other than defending "The Other Three" of Dwyane Wade (29 aggressive points), LeBron James (26pts and 10 rebounds in just 29 minutes!), and Chris Bosh – 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 rejections.

When they weren’t busy avoiding the amorous advances of Brutus Allen (Garnett’s refusal to acknowledge him was both hilarious and somewhat sad), the C’s started out energetically enough with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo setting the pace. Pierce ended with a very Truth-like line, scoring 23 points on 6-15 shooting with two threes – one of which he hailed a cab and rode out onto Miami Beach to launch - 9-9 at the charity stripe, 5 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals). Rondo was typically spectacular, if not completely focused, with 20 points on 9-14 shooting, 13 assists (there’s that unlucky number again), and seven rebounds. They even clawed back out of a 19-point hole to get within three (offensive catalyst Leandro "The Brazilian Blur" Barbosa had a very productive night essentially scoring a point for every minute he played – 16 – on 6-8 shooting with 3 threes), but it was the disjointed plays in between, showcasing lackluster defensive cohesion and turnovers (16) that ultimately did the C’s in.

Bright spots – not including the Captain, Rondo and Barbosa – was a workmanlike Brandon Bass who shrugged off all of the "will he start or come off the bench?" blather by scoring 15 points on 6-11 shooting and snagging 11 caroms – second most on the team. Despite a team-high 12 boards, Kevin Garnett looked a bit off his game scoring only 9 points on a still-efficient 4-8 shooting night, however he did have two blocks – one of which was a LeBron shot attempt that found its way to the same spot on Miami Beach that Double-P hit from. Courtney Lee also valiantly battled Wade all night, racking up five fouls to go along with 11 points on marksman-like shooting – going 5-6 from the floor and 1-1 on threes.

Jeff Green nearly managed to undo a pre-season’s worth of praise with a Halloween-esque performance in which he seemed to portray a headless horseman frantically searching about for a pumpkin to rest on his neck-stump. He finished with 3 points – all on free throws – missing all of his four attempts from the floor and he pulled in just 3 rebounds.

But, fear not True Believers...though the media, fans and the Celtics themselves took on extreme pressure by labeling Miami Public Enemy #1 throughout the entirety of the pre-season, the general lack of cohesion should be expected from a team featuring ten out of fifteen players who didn’t play a single game for the Boston Celtics last year. Okay, Chris Wilcox DID manage to play 28 games for the C’s before leaving the team for open heart surgery, which he isn’t completely recovered from, but...

The silver lining: A) The C’s showed flashes of a potentially devastating and lethal offensive dominance, partly based on; B) the running game. Soak that in, C’s fans. The Celtics have a running game. After 6 years quarterbacking a team full of mostly St. Bernards, Greyhound Rondo now has a quick and athletic pack to run the NBA countryside with. In fact, this season, the C’s running game is going to be even more impressive than the New England Patriots’ newfound ground attack. Mark. My. Words.; C) Rajon Rondo carried over his aggressive play from the 2012 Playoffs and didn’t shy away from taking the jumper when it presented itself, and Pierce looks to have his old reliable Truthness back after the sprained knee that drained him of his effectiveness throughout last year’s playoffs. Oh yeah, and Rondo tried to clothesline Wade, so THAT’S nice.

As I told a couple of friends who were texting me their concerns throughout the game, this team’s gonna be alllllrriiiigghhht. Don’t you worry. It’s going to take some games for the new guys to figure out where they’re supposed to be in the defensive schemes and where to be in the offense, but when they do...remember that scene in Space Jam when the little aliens touched the magic basketball?

One game down. Eighty-one left to go. This is gonna be one hell of a ride...

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