The Boston Celtics had their home opener, in a rematch against the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat on Friday night and it didn’t disappoint. The Cs pulled off an all around 119-111 win, dominated by the best starting five in the league.
Derrick White was the hero in this game. He finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. A bunch of chase down blocks for D White, picking up right where he left off last season, as the best shot blocking guard in the league. White was hitting timely shot after shot and he even had his own 8-0 run in the 4th, that was capped off by a deep, heat check three that got the crowd on their feet.
Big 5 Shows Out
Derrick was the talk of the night, but the rest of the five put up great numbers. KP finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block. Tatum put up his usual, scoring 22 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. There will always be talk about the bench and the production coming from it, but when you have a starting five that can combine for 111 points, this team will win lots of games.
The under the radar player in this game was Jrue Holiday. He had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists and played phenomenal defense on Jimmy Butler. Butler was quiet on the night with 14 points on 3/11 shooting. His presence is always felt on the court and he has made such a huge impact for this team that cannot go unnoticed. There are some things that the starting five needs to work out, but the two new additions have fit in quite well. A very quiet player on the court, but you can just see and feel the difference when Jrue is on the floor with this team.
The love for Jaylen Brown needs to be as loud as the hate was after opening night. Like we all knew was coming, JB bounced back from his rough game one, pouring in 27 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. A slow start followed by a strong finish, it seems like Brown was finding his groove as the game went on. I think with the new acquisitions, he is trying to learn how to play with another scorer like KP. But the Celtics will be at their best, when JB is at his best.
The Oshae Hype Train
For the first time this season, Oshae Brissett saw some run and he did not disappoint. Right away the impact was felt, crashing the offensive glass and giving the team some much needed energy in the first half. He ended the night with 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 of those rebounds being offensive. Only two points, but the loudest two points felt. Something the Celtics have lacked in the past is players who will do the dirty work and give us second chance opportunities or fight for a defensive rebound with the opposing center. The Celtics now have two of those guys, one in Oshae and the other in Lamar Stevens. Oshae deserves a spot in the rotation, especially on nights when shots aren’t falling.
Two Tough Wins
Whenever Miami is on the schedule, I speak for all Celtics fans when I say, the stress levels go up. They are a very hard nosed team and they might not have the best roster, but with Coach Spoelstra, they will be a tough out for any team on a given night. Especially when playing the Cs, it seems like their role players get an extra boost and play some of their best basketball. After an early season matchup, it could be very possibly that we see the Heat again later on down the road.
A 2-0 start to the season is always exciting, but looking at the bigger picture makes it even more enticing. This team has played two tough, physical defensive minded teams and the games have come down to 4th quarter possessions and in both games, the Celtics have pulled it off. For all fans, it should be very refreshing after past struggles to win close games. Whether it is the addition of KP, Jrue or the experience kicking in for the Jays, this could be the season we see it all come together.