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Fast Break: Sharp Shaq ignites C’s win

Posted By Ben Rohrbach On October 20, 2010 @ 10:04 pm In General | 3 Comments

Five Celtics [1] scored in double figures — led by Paul Pierce [2]‘s 17 points — and Rajon Rondo [3] finished with 12 assists to ignite a 107-92 victory over the New Jersey Nets [4] in the final game of the preseason. Boston finished the preseason at 7-1.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT

1. Shaq looking sharp: A nifty spin move and another juke move around Joe Smith showed flashes of the Shaquille O’Neal [5] of old. Sure, it was Joe Smith, but still. Playing 15 of the first 24 minutes, he finished the half with 12 points and seven boards.

Shaq did the little things, too. He tossed a nice outlet pass to Rondo for an easy bucket that put the C’s up 75-67 in the third quarter. He cleaned up the defensive glass, a serious deficiency for the Celtics in the 2010 game that shall not be named. And, believe it or not, he made 4-of-5 free throws, which raised his percentage to 69.2.

All in all, not too shabby for a 38-year-old.

2. Coming out of halftime firing on all cylinders: The Celtics could’ve easily packed it in and called it a night, trailing 55-48 at the half. If trap games existed in the preseason, this would’ve been it. The C’s started 6-1 in the expedition season, and if you haven’t heard yet they open the season against the new-look Heat on Tuesday.

Yet, the starters came out of the locker room and turned a seven-point deficit into a 13-point lead by the end of the third quarter, outscoring the Nets, 36-16.

3. Getting to the free throw line: The Celtics got to the line 24 times last night and made 18 of them. Shaq, Pierce and Glen Davis [6] each got to the line five times, and only Big Baby (2-of-5) failed to knock them down.

Entering last night’s game, the C’s averaged 28.6 foul shots per game, and they were shooting 76.6 percent as a team. Last season, the Celtics attempted 25.5 free throws per game, making 74.6 percent of them.

THREE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG

1. Starting the game in a last-game-of-the-preseason effort: Looking sloppy and lackadaisical, the Celtics gave up 11 fast break points and scored none in the first quarter. That left them coming from behind … until an epic third quarter. Making up a 14-point deficit might be easy against the Nets, but it won’t be a cakewalk against the NBA’s upper echelon.

2. Giving up high-percentage shots on defense: The Celtics still allowed New Jersey to shoot 48 percent from the floor through three quarters — and that’s with the Nets shooting just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc. The C’s have plenty of bigs this year, so there’s no reason their interior defense shouldn’t be among the league’s best.

3. Do I really have to come up with three things that went wrong in a 20-point blowout during the last game of the preseason? OK, I guess the Celtics didn’t bring Gino out. What gives?


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URL to article: http://greenstreet.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/2010/10/20/fast-break-sharp-shaq-ignites-cs-win/

URLs in this post:

[1] Celtics: http://media.weei.com/basketball/boston-celtics.htm

[2] Paul Pierce: http://media.weei.com/basketball/paul-pierce.htm

[3] Rajon Rondo: http://media.weei.com/basketball/rajon-rondo.htm

[4] New Jersey Nets: http://media.weei.com/basketball/new-jersey-nets.htm

[5] Shaquille O’Neal: http://media.weei.com/basketball/shaquille-oneal.htm

[6] Glen Davis: http://media.weei.com/basketball/glen-davis.htm

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