The Boston Celtics traveled to the nation’s capital to take on the Wizards and wasted no time. From the jump, the Cs dominated in a 126-107 win. This was yet another step in the right direction for this team. Not playing down to an opponent and handling business on a quick road trip. The 3-0 start to the season is the first time it has happened in back to back years since the 1970s.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum once again gave fans another reason to solidify their spot as the best duo in the league. Jaylen came out scorching hot and continued it all the way into the 3rd quarter. He finished the game with 36 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 8 threes, 7 of those in the first half. It was once again a quiet night for the Jaylen haters out there, as he showed why he shouldn’t be considered a second option. The Celtics simply have a 1A and 1B and there is no more debate about it, especially after last season. After a rough first game, Jaylen has quietly had two great games and will look to build off that success.
Although it was the JB night, Tatum quietly had another unreal game. He put up 33 points, 6 rebounds and 4 threes. Doing most of his work in the 3rd quarter, the starters ended up with all under 30 minutes, the closet being JT with 27. This was the 24th time the Jays have scored 30+ each in a game and in those games, they are 23-1. There is always a benefit of blowout games because it gives the main guys a chance to play limited minutes and still feel fresh. Yes, it is only three games into the season but with high expectations, this team should be playing deep into June, so they need all the extra rest they can get.
The Jays combined for 69 points on the night, KP put in a quiet 15 and 6, Jrue with 11, 5 and 3, and D White with 5 and 8. It was another showcase of how dynamic this starting five can be. With a night like the Jays had, it allows the others to not have to carry a heavier workload and allow them to have more focus on getting them the ball or making a play on the defensive side. Back to back games, the starting five has combined for 100 points or more which is just absolutely absurd. There isn’t much debate as of now, this starting five is and will be the best in the league over the year.
Turning it Over and Causing Turnovers
As most fans know, turnovers have haunted this team for so many years. It has caused games to be close when they shouldn’t be, or allows teams to go on runs and end up collapsing in crunch time. The Cs have topped 13+ turnovers in all three of their games but the reason it has slid under the radar is because they also have forced turnovers at a high rate. We knew the defensive ability of this team going into the season, but the turnovers on offense in my opinion will be the bigger story of the course of the year.
We have seen the success of the team when they take care of the ball and we also have seen what happens when they are careless with the basketball. With all due respect to the other teams in the league, this Celtics team can be as close to unstoppable as you can get, if they can limit their turnovers. Simply because of the high powering scoring, but also the fact that if they are causing 8-10 turnovers per game, that creates so much extra opportunity for them to capitalize. It is still early on and there are lots of things to build off, but it is something fascinating to watch all year.
Going into the 4th quarter of Monday nights game, the Celtics led 108 to 75, leading to an early night for the top six guys. Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Oshae Brissett, Dalano Banton and Luke Kornet took the floor and it was rougher than expected. The bench mob got outscored 32-18 in the 4th and at one point, they were shooting 2/17 in the quarter. In their defense, it is very hard to gain some type of confidence and momentum in any game because of the fact one or two of the top six guys will always be in the game. But at the same time, spark is needed once in a while because of how long the season is and somebody has to solidify themselves as that.
We saw Oshae bring that spark in the Miami game but that arguably can be the only time somebody off the bench has shown something. I have wrote about this a bit before, but I think it is time for Joe to give some run to Lamar Stevens and Svi Mykhailiuk. Without a doubt, it is very early on in the season and it isn’t time to panic, but that argument can also be used to give some run to other people to see if something sticks. Lamar is more on the side of Oshae, as he can be a great defensive and hustle guy with some struggles on the shooting side. While Svi is similar to Hauser in the aspect of shooting the lights out, but can easily be targeted on the defensive side of the ball.
This is more so an opinion on my part and I have the utmost confidence in Joe and the staff, but these two players have showed flashes in the preseason and I do not think it would hurt the team. Another benefit of seeing who can have an impact off the bench early on, allows Brad Stevens to take a look around the league and see who is available closer to the trade deadline. All in all, there is no need to worry about the bench at the moment simply because of the starting five and their scoring abilities. But there may need to be a discussion later on down the road if nothing changes in a couple of months.
Respecting the Game
Once again, the Celtics have showed early on that they have learned from their mistakes from last season. If fans remember correctly, they went into Washington and ended up getting stomped for four quarters in a 19 point loss. Playing down to their competition is the best way to put it, but as most know, this is the NBA and anyone or any team can catch fire at some point and win a game. After this game, and the comments from the Jays in the post game press conference, it seems that they are treating every game as a must win.
There are so many different takeaways and it is hard to not overreact after every game. The starting five continuing to gel and click on all cylinders on the defensive side of the ball is truly so much fun to watch. It also is very exciting to see this team win close games and win games that they should win and I think that is the key to making a deep run into the playoffs. Continuing this trend, we can easily be watching a very dominant and disciplined team all the way into June.