The Boston Celtics hosted the New Jersey Nets today in their third preseason game. With the Red Sox battling for their season just down the street and the Patriots on the road at the undefeated Denver Broncos, it seemed that the Celtics were an after-thought, even to those in the arena. As I sat two rows behind the basket closest to the Celtics’ bench (compliments of my lovely girlfriend), I could feel that the crowd just wasn’t there from the start of this game. The loudest cheers came when they would post the Red Sox’s score on the jumbotron (when they were actually leading in the game). I think the lack of excitement inside the arena helped keep the Nets in the game for the first half, but in the end, the Celtics flexed their collective muscles and pulled away late. With my great seats, I had a great view of the game and got an up-close look at everyone on the court. Here are my impressions:
- Brook Lopez is very good. Perkins, Sheed, Big Baby all had trouble with him in the first half. He also has a very nice stroke from the charity stripe for a 7-foot bruiser.
- Paul Pierce put this team on his back offensively in the first three quarters. He had 14 in the first half and 11 in the third quarter alone to finish with a game-high 25 points. Terrence Williams and Bobby Simmons had no chance of guarding him.
- Kevin Garnett looked very good early in the game. At one point I looked up and saw he was five-for-five from the field and was asserting himself physically in the post against Yi. Very encouraging to see him bang at full force.
- Rondo struggled for most of the game. He just never got into a groove, missed all of his jumpshots and was trying too hard to make an unnecessary pass under the basket with the Nets’ big men swarming. His shining moment was his highlight dunk (pictured above) on a nice pass from Pierce.
- Rasheed Wallace electrifies the crowd almost as much as Garnett. The man Celtics fans all hated just a few short months ago is now turning into a fan favorite.
- The lineup of House, Hudson, Daniels, Baby and Sheed did the most damage and pulled away for the win in the fourth quarter. Very interesting lineup to watch, but I was pleasantly pleased to see how they played together.
- Eddie House is by far the most exciting shooter to watch in the NBA. Every time the ball leaves his hands, you can’t help but to think it is going in.
- Marquis Daniels looks very comfortable playing point guard, and that is very reassuring. He plays great with Eddie House already and seems to be great at finishing around the rim. Our second unit will be very good because of Daniels.