I remember leaving the Celtics home opener vividly. I was walking out of TD Garden to the parking garage with my dad, and all I could hear from people was “This team is screwed” – “We’re fucked.” – “This season is going to suck.”
I think I laughed the majority of the way home. I guess I understood the surface of it. Hayward down, the Celtics lost to Cleveland and then the home opener to Milwaukee (where they should have won).
I guess people forgot about Brad Stevens. Brad Stevens is a genius. Brad Stevens figures things out. You got that? Good. Now the Celtics winning four in a row isn’t as surprising.
The final score last night was 96-90, but it was a GRIND. Both teams really battled for this one, and credit to Miami giving the game that they did without Hassan Whiteside in the lineup. This was just a fun game to watch, even though the Celtics had their chances to push this game out of reach.
Want a concern from the game? No? Well, you’re getting one anyway. For the second straight game, Jaylen Brown just looked off on the floor. He was +16 on the night, which for stupid people like me just translates roughly to “Even though his stats weren’t the best, he was doing the right things on the floor.” — But still, 1-7 from the floor and his second straight poor shooting performance was noticeable. Am I worried? Absolutely not. Jaylen Brown is too good to let this linger.
Want three things that canceled out that concern? You do? Sick. KYRIE IRVING, JAYSON TATUM, AND MARCUS SMART. These three put on a show last night and they all deserve kudos for the effort. Let’s go in reverse order.
Marcus Smart: 16points 4rebounds 4assists 2steals (6-12 shooting)
On a night where Marcus Smart was hitting his outside shots, he had such a positive control of his game that it seemed like he was impacting every play. The most impressive thing I saw last night was his ability to run the offense. Check this…
Incredible poise, and SMART decision making (Bad joke). Smart’s play of the night though came on the game-sealing rebound in traffic. That’s just what this dude does, he scraps. Having Marcus Smart back in the lineup after battling dual ankle injuries is a sight for sore eyes.
Jayson Tatum: 20points 5rebounds 0turnovers (6-9 shooting) (2-2 from three)
Seriously if it weren’t for Kyrie going full untucked at the end of the game, Tatum would’ve been the performance of the night and I’d be hard-pressed to argue if someone were to say he was the ultimate highlight last night. Holy shit, everything. Just everything. JAYSON TATUM IS 19 YEARS OLD. Just thought I’d remind us all again of that. He was covering Giannis-esque like ground on his fast breaks. Remember when we thought we wanted Markelle Fultz? LOL. I don’t care about overreacting this kid is a stud and he is the quickest Celtics rookie to put together two 20-point games since Bird… Decent.
For some rookies, that’s a season full of highlights… and it was just one game for Tatum.
LAST BUT OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS NOT LEAST
Kyrie Irving: 24points 4rebounds 3assists 3steals 1block (10-23 shooting)
We got one hell of a look at Closer Kyrie last night and sweet Christ was it beautiful to watch. Every time down the floor Kyrie was getting the look he wanted and dazzling every chance he could…. I MEAN LOOK AT THIS.
STUPID. That is STUPID incredible. Just watching the Celtics close down the stretch running through Kyrie was awesome. Great spacing on the floor and just a superstar doing his damn dance.
What I loved personally about last night? Two things. The Celtics won the rebounding battle again. They’ve out-rebounded their opponent in 4 out of the first 6 games of the season and the two that they didn’t? In Cleveland, they were out-rebounded by 3 and the Knicks out-boarded them by 1. That is awesome stuff that we aren’t really used to as Celtics fans. The addition of Baynes protecting the rim, and Al Horford boosting his rebound production is huge.
Lastly, and this is the big one… The way this Celtics team is constructed, and the system that Brad deploys, Kyrie still has the ability to close but doesn’t have to be balls to the wall trying to score 50 every night. You could sort of see that last year with Isaiah. At points, the offense couldn’t function without him on the floor. Then when he was on the floor it was GIVE THE BALL TO ISAIAH AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY. We saw last night that there was a balanced attack all night long. That is awesome going forward.
The Celtics are back at it Monday night versus Pop and the Spurs, this is going to be a great test of where this squad can stack up without Hayward.
ONWARD! WE FADED!