Well, that didn't go as I expected. The biggest culprit in last night's loss was the defense. For a team that was near the top of the league for the last 5 years on defense, the Celtics didn't play very Celtic-like defense last night. The same failures on stopping the pick and roll that plagued them in the preseason were back again in this game. They allowed the Heat to get to the rim all night long. They allowed the Heat to shoot 54% from the field and score 120 points. The Celtics have to tighten up the defense or we won't see Banner 18 this year. Defense wins championships. It's that simple.
I think most of the problems that surfaced last night were the result of having just 4 players from last year play in this game. It's going to take a little time for all the new players to mesh, especially on defense. Doc is going to have to trust them though as they find their way. Once they get past the jitters of first game and get more cohesiveness on the court all the bugs from last night will work they way out. Paul Pierce should never play 40 minutes again this season. He started off strong but was worn down by the end.
Dwyane Wade was crying after the game about Rondo's flagrant foul at the end of the game.
"I got my kids watching so I stopped myself but it was a punk play by him. He clotheslined me."
Wade hinted he might have a response the next time the teams play on Jan. 27 in Boston.
"I'm here to play basketball, man," Wade said. "If you want to do something else, then go do something else. Boxing, this is not it. I was glad I was able to stop myself in that very moment and move on from it. We'll see next time we play."
Uh, maybe Wade should think back to HIS punk move that dislocated Rondo's elbow in the 2011 playoffs. I wonder if his kids were watching then. Wade is the king of punk moves so he really doesn't have any room to talk. And threatening retaliation the next time the two teams meet is a punk move in itself. I expect the Celtics to be firing on all cylinders the next time these two teams meet and it will be the Heat
Which brings me to the referees. It's still clear that the Heat are going to get the benefit of the refs' whistles again this season. I had hoped that perhaps that it would change this season now that they helped LeBron get his ring. But it doesn't seem like it. Rondo's foul was the result of frustration from being pushed off and elbowed and hit repeatedly with no calls. Kind of reminds me of that time when Dave Cowens was called for fouls several times as the Rockets' Mike Newlin flopped. Later in the game, Cowens slammed Newlin with a blind-side hit with both forearms knocked him to the floor. "Now that's a foul!" Cowens was hear to say to the ref as he left the court. When the refs don't do their jobs, it results in frustrated players.
Brandon Bass showed that he really wants that starting spot. He was one player who stood out last night. He was very aggressive on the boards, snagging 6 offensive rebounds and 11 rebounds total. I liked what I saw from him last night and if he can keep up that aggressiveness on the boards, Doc needs to keep him in the starting lineup. Sully, another candidate for that spot, showed that he can make an impact this season, but needs a bit more experience to do so. And Jeff Green was pretty much ineffective but I think once the first game jitters are gone he'll look a lot better.
Gary Tanguay called KG childish for not returning Ray Allen's greeting before he checked into the game. I'm with Tommy Heinsohn who called it "old school basketball." Back in the day there was no hugging and high fives between opponents before the game. They were there to battle and that didn't include friendly greetings between combatants. KG wanted no part of a family reunion with Ray before the game. His mind was on the game and didn't want the distraction. I'm with Tommy (and KG) on this one. Perk and KG are cut from the same old school cloth. The opponent is the enemy and they don't like them. I don't like them much either.
[Discuss on CG Forums!]