Normally I would have taken game notes on the contest in Indianapolis tonight, but I missed the first 6 minutes of the game, then realized it was against the Pacers. Indiana fans don’t even care about the Pacers (as evidenced by the mere 12,000 in attendance at the game), why would you? So you get a game recap instead.
In one word, the game was “physical.” In three, it was “ugly and physical.” In ten, the game was “exactly what the rest of the league was worried about.” You see, the Hawks tried to outrun the Celtics last week. The Hawks kept it close for a half, perhaps a little more. The Nets tried to iso the Celtics and pressure their bigs into fouls. The Nets kept it close for half of the opening tip. And the Pacers tried to outmuscle the Celtics. They kept it close for three quarters according to the score, but had no real shot beyond Jamal Tinsley’s slap to Pierce’s head (prompting a run) mid-way through the second.
Because the Celtics are Darwinian. They are able to withstand the opposing team’s game plan with excellent defense and timely scoring, then make adjustments (aka find which of triumvirate best exploits the other team’s weakness and put him to work).
Indiana defended the perimeter well, they bumped KG off the block, and they limited fast-break causing turnovers. Their rotation found open Celtics quickly, and they rebounded as well as any Celtics’ opponent so far this year. But the Celtics adapted. They let Pierce work off the dribble from the wing or above the three point line. And when they did that, the Pacers could not keep Pierce out of the paint. That led to a quick Celtics burst at the end of the first half–a lead the C’s never relinquished.
Once Pierce exploited his match-up with Shawne Williams and Danny Granger (Pierce shot 14-14 from the free throw line on the night), the Pacers were forced to collapse on penetration, allowing Ray Allen, Scal, and House to get off a few uncontested jumpers. Couple that with untimely turnovers, and the Pacers would have lost by 20+ if not for Granger’s hot hand.
Despite Garnett and Ray Allen shooting a low percentage from the field, the C’s still managed to top the century mark (final score: 101-86). No team has figured out how to slow them down so far, and they continue to out-rebound their opponents. It will be interesting to see what changes Lawrence Frank and the Nets make tomorrow night, seeing as how they will be the first team to face the Celtics a second time.
That ends the coherent recap portion of my post, what follows are a few random questions and observations from the game.
- David Harrison was on Survivor recently? I missed that one.
- Jamal Tinsley should probably just go away at this point.
- They say the key to shooting is confidence. I say Rondo confidently missed about 5 open jumpers tonight. I hope his “shooting confidence” balloon is shrivels and falls to the floor so he passes to Ray Allen more instead.
- Tommy Heinsohn remarked, for the second game in a row, that he doesn’t know what a foul is anymore. Yes you do you liar: it’s what the Celtics never commit but the opposing team does every time. Just say what you mean.
- James Posey probably makes Coach K horny with his propensity for taking charges this year.
- Jermaine O’Neal’s head band looks like it’s cutting off circulation.
- Ray Allen kept his streak of 120 straight games scoring in double digits alive. Tony Allen also kept his streak alive: oh, nevermind. He’s dumb, I’ve got to learn to live with it. Get better! Please!
- Mike Dunleavy is growing a bald spot (growing a bald spot–a spot without growth… I just confused myself). He’s doing it with a shaggy hair cut, which will look awful. Although possibly less awful than if he switched to the Agassi cut.
- Can you imagine what KG’s child would be like if he had one? How intense/insane would that kid be? I’m thinking it would be something like this (except, maybe, you know, not white).
Tags: Brian Scalabrine, Danny Granger, Darwin, David Harrison, Eddie House, Jamal Tinsley, James Posey, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Mike Dunleavy, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Scott Pollard, Shawne Williams, Tommy Heinsohn, Tony Allen