The 2022-23 NBA season is officially underway. With the start of the new season brings the joy of Celtics basketball returning. It feels like Christmas…in October.
Boston got off to a strong start to the year, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 126-117 at home. Here are my biggest takeaways from the C’s season opening victory over the Sixers.
It’s Just Game One
It’s hard not to overreact to every single game throughout a sports season. However, it is important to realize how different things will be from the 1st game to the 82nd game . This includes the good things and the not so good things. Especially things like shooting splits, rhythm, and on court chemistry. These are things that will change and develop as the season goes along. You can get excited from the season tip-off, but make sure not to get too carried away with the early takes.
Center Depth Looked Okay
Coming into the season, the depth at the Center position was the glaring flaw on the roster. This only became worse when news hit that starting Center Rob Williams would be sidelined for 2-3 months.
This flaw was put to the test early in the opener. In the first five minutes of the game, veteran Al Horford was on the bench quickly with two fouls. Facing Joel Embiid and having Al Horford on the bench showed just how thin the big rotation is. Noah Vonleh and Blake Griffin were the ones splitting the minutes during that stretch.
Although Vonleh and Griffin held it down and weren’t dominated by Embiid in stagnated minutes, the depth at the 5 is still a glaring flaw while Timelord is sidelined.
Celtics Pushing The Pace
Going into this season, the Celtics had put an emphasis on playing faster and pushing the pace, and last night’s game showed why.
Due to the roster construction of this team with the amount of capable ball handlers on the court at all times, it awards the Celtics the ability to play fast and push the pace. This is especially true when they play small.
The Celtics finished with 22 points off 15 forced turnovers, and outscored the 76ers 24-2 in fastbreak points. Albeit, this was against a 76ers team that struggled in transition defense last season.
Stats aside, it was clear the Celtics wanted to run and it was clear it was working. It started with an emphasis on team rebounding on the defensive end, which allowed whoever rebounded the ball to take it up themselves or push it up court in transition. This leads into the next key takeaway..
Malcolm Brogdon Looked Phenomenal
Malcolm Brogdon’s impact on this team was seen instantly, scoring 16 points on 7-11 from the field to go along with 4 assists. However, you did not need the stat sheet to see the impact from Brogdon tonight.
Malcolm makes it look easy pic.twitter.com/zZvuvUNIDy— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 19, 2022
The first play he was in Brogdon grabbed a rebound and immediately passed it up the court to set up numbers in transition, and throughout the game always kept the ball moving, allowing the offense to flow rather than stall out.
From his off ball movement, to his on ball creation for himself and others, game one was instant confirmation to what the majority of the fanbase believed when the trade took place. This guy is going to be good for the Celtics, really good.
The Jays Looked Lethal
To end this off, we are going to break our own rule and do what we said not to do in the beginning: overreact to an early game in the season.
The Jays are the best duo in basketball. Period.
Finishing with 70 points combined, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were on another level. Tatum finished with 35 on 13-20 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, and Jaylen Brown with 35 shooting 14-24 to go along with three rebounds. The two of them dominated this game from the jump, and were clearly the two best players on the court tonight.
35 PTS each and they’re just getting started 😤 pic.twitter.com/Q2oKnjWCpm— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 19, 2022
It wasn’t just offense either, the two of them took pride on the defensive side as well, both blocking one shot apiece to go along with two steals for Jaylen and one steal for Tatum, but the stats don’t tell the whole story from their defensive efforts last night.
the steal ➡️ the SLAM pic.twitter.com/61F2cSHCW8— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 19, 2022
Now entering their sixth NBA season together, and coming off an NBA Finals appearance, it feels like this is the most on-court chemistry and in step the two have ever been. If the Jays are in fact, the best duo in basketball, there is no ceiling for the 2022-23 Boston Celtics.
1-0. What a way to start the new year.