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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Impressions on the Celtics

Some quick notes on the Celtics, after watching their preseason game at Madison Square Garden last night.

  • Granted, I was watching them against the defensively-challenged Knick guards, but Boston's backcourt looked great. Sebastian Telfair was able to get into the lane at will and hit open teammates. Rajon Rondo is a speed demon. And Tony Allen was very solid... and the only one of the bunch who seemed to offer much on defense (though he did make a bonehead play by fouling Jamal Crawford on a three-point attempt). If I'm Delonte West, I'm getting increasingly nervous about missing these preseason games.
  • The Celtics are going to score an awful lot of points. Their guards bring the ball up quickly, and with their quickness, they'll get to the line a lot. They posted 108 points last night without leading scorer Paul Pierce, who sat out due to a sore hip.
  • The Celtics are going to give up an awful lot of points. Some of this is due to strategy -- they're looking to outgun opponents, not get into defensive battles. And some of this is due to personnel -- Theo Ratliff also missed last night's game. But some of this is due to the fact that they're just atrocious on defense. Michael Olowokandi allowed Eddy Curry (not known for his footspeed) to blow past for a couple of easy layups, and the Celtics front line at one point allowed the 5'9" Nate Robinson to score on a putback.
  • Player to watch -- Wally Szczerbiak. Opposing defenses will need to key on Paul Pierce, and Boston's points will be able to beat nearly any other backcourt off the dribble. That should open up tons of kick-outs for Szczerbiak, who has more than enough skill to take advantage.


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