Fast Break: Ray Allen, Heat set Celtics ablaze
|10.30.12 at 10:49 pm ET|
Just as we last saw them, the Celtics left Miami wondering how in the hell they’ll beat the Heat.
Only this time, Ray Allen reigned jumpers for the home team. After watching his new teammates receive their NBA championship rings as part of the opening night festivities, Allen scored 19 points in a 120-107 win against his old ones. Fellow fresh face Rashard Lewis (10 points) inflicted some pain as well, and LeBron James (26 points, 10 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (29 points) and Chris Bosh (19 points, 10 rebounds) did their usual damage.
Celtics captain Paul Pierce registered a team-high 23 points, Rajon Rondo (20 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 flagrant foul) and Brandon Bass (15 points, 11 rebounds) recorded double-doubles, and Leandro Barbosa (16 points) reached double figures off the bench, but the defense couldn’t cool Miami on the other end — even after a 16-3 run cut the lead to two late in the fourth quarter. Here’s what else happened:
WHAT WENT WRONG
Not turning over a new leaf: Different season, same problem. The Celtics committed nine turnovers in the first 15 minutes and were luckily to enter the break with only 10. Much of the confusion naturally stemmed from working their new additions into an unfamiliar system. In the only short span of the first half when the C’s actually limited their turnovers, they made a 13-4 run to tie the game midway through the second quarter. If they ever find a solution to this problem, their startlingly potent offense could be scary good.
No reservations: Between stretches of eight straight points from Jason Terry in the second quarter and nine straight from Barbosa to start the fourth, the bench scored three points on 1-of-10 shooting (here’s looking at you Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger). Makes you wonder: Do the Celtics really have the NBA’s best bench?
Slow emotion: While he remained straight-faced when giving Allen the cold shoulder, Kevin Garnett may have let his emotions get the best of him (5 turnovers), committing a pair of early fouls and looking generally sloppy. As a result of their leader’s off night, the C’s defense fell apart, allowing 31 points in each of the first three quarters.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Captain at the helm: Seriously, don’t forget about Paul Pierce. He made his first three shots (2-2 3P), snagged his 1,500th career steal and didn’t looked back. The TNT microphones even picked up his extensive verbal communication on the defensive end. All in all, a different Pierce than the one that entered last year out of shape.
General Lee: The man who replaced Allen in the Celtics starting lineup, Courtney Lee (11 points), endeared himself to Boston fans immediately. While playing stellar defense opposite Dwyane Wade early, he started a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, including a 3-pointer for seven points in the first quarter.
Bass on the glass: Perhaps inspired by Doc Rivers‘ claim that he’ll also start Sullinger and Green at the 4 based on matchups, Bass played inspired. His four first-half offensive boards (7 total) helped the C’s offset some early turnovers, and his eight points in the opening 24 minutes didn’t hurt either.