In honor of the Player of the Game, how about a little something from the greatest Irish musician ever for a former Notre Dame star? And if you thought this was going to be a U2 video, know that Hardwood Houdini is a “Bono/Edge/the Two Other Guys”-free zone.
A wild night indeed, and this was the most entertaining game of the preseason by far. It had a regular season-type atmosphere with a solid crowd (inspiring chants for Shaq, Knicks fans) and players that seemed to care about the outcome. The Knicks are going to be much improved, and Amar’e Stoudemire gave the C’s trouble, as usual. There’s a lot to talk about, so here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (your call on where Paul Pierce’s celebratory strut on the game-winner) from the Celtics’ 104-101 victory.
Irish Eyes are Smiling: Luke Harangody might not make an impact on this team this year. But if he is called upon, he showed that he will be ready to play.
With Shaquille O’Neal and Glen Davis sitting out, Kevin Garnett’s ejection, and the rest of the Celtics’ bigs in foul trouble, Doc Rivers had no choice but to give Harangody some extended minutes. And he delivered in a big way with a double-double in 20 minutes of action—all in the second half.
For all the talk of Stephane Lasme, Harangody came on in his place and immediately went to work with a 3-pointer and a layup. Playing with a high level of confidence in his game, the former Big East Player of the Year finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The display featured a little bit of everything: a number of impressive rebounds in traffic, including four on the offensive glass, some solid outside shooting, and some clutch baskets in the comeback.
He was instrumental in bringing the Celtics back into this game, as was another guy…
Rondo Running the Show: What did this game prove to me? Well, when Rajon Rondo wants to take over, he can.
Starting in the third quarter Rondo proceeded to dominate. He drove to the basket at will and changed the course of this game on the defensive end, making key steal (he finished with six on the evening) that led to a number of easy baskets.
The Celtics are at their best when they can create easy shots in the course of Rondo pushing the basketball, and that happened tonight.
Lasme Leaves No Lasting Impression: With the lack of big men available and KG picking up two techs, this looked like a spot for Stephane Lasme to shine and lock up the last spot on the Celtics’ roster.
Instead he picked up five fouls in about 15 minutes of work and barely made an impact. It was even worse for Lasme when Harangody took advantage of the opportunity and put up big numbers in his place in the second half.
Getting Technical: It was mind boggling that KG was thrown out of this game. I barely even noticed what he did; I had to see the reply to confirm that he seemed to be laughing abut the foul call.
The good news? Garnett impressed in his limited time out there with six points and three boards. But more than any other Celtic (outside of Kendrick Perkins, possibly), Garnett is a player that feeds off his emotions on the court. If he can’t play that way, this could be a problem for the Celtics. The Celtics will probably be up there in techs this year even without Perkins and Rasheed Wallace, but hopefully the new rules don’t affect the players’ games.