The Boston Celtics are facing better competition tonight in the Brooklyn Nets, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they have controlled the action in the first half which ended with the Celtics ahead 54-43.
And to think they’re getting it done in such a dominant fashion without their best low-post scorer (David Lee) and their best perimeter defenders with Avery Bradley (rest) and Marcus Smart (illness) both not playing.
“We’re an extremely deep team,” Lee told CSNNE.com. “No matter who comes into the game, there’s really no let-down as far as what we want to do on the floor. Our depth is going to be our biggest strength this season.”
Here are five things that have really stood out thus far in the first half.
He scored the first basket of the game, forced a turnover and racked up an assist moments later. It set the tone at both ends of the floor, for what was to come.
Boston signed him because of what he does defensively as well as his ability to fit in regardless of who else is on the floor. But Johnson is showing he can get it done offensively as well. In the first half he had 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go with four rebounds.
The more we see him play, the stronger a case he makes for getting on the floor. One of the best sequences of the first half involved him hitting a 3-pointer, forcing a turnover on the ensuing defensive series and delivering another 3-pointer moments later. He had 9 points in the first half on 3-for-5 shooting.
He finally got a chance to start and Thomas pretty much did what he normally does when he comes off the bench. His 17 points at the half tied Amir Johnson for game-high. But even more significant was the fact that he had five assists with just one turnover.
The Celtics are determined to be a top-10 defensive team this season, and these are the kind of games that give legitimate hope that it can happen.
Boston has suffocated Brooklyn’s shooters both on the perimeter and inside the paint while limiting the Nets to just 36.6 shooting from the field.