Not too much of an encore from the last time these two teams met, but that should have been expected with Brook Lopez absent. Still, the presence of Jay Z’s team allows me to lead with some of the Grey Album. And the Celtics stormed back in the third quarter and ran away with this game, 107-92, to finish 7-1 on the preseason. Win-win for everyone. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Third Quarter Dominance: Back when the Celtics made their run to their 17th title, they had quite a few games where the other team kept it close in the first half. And it seemed that every time that happened, the Celtics would come out after halftime and impose their will on the opposition, showing that they were the classier side.
Well, that is what Boston did tonight. This team just took over in the first quarter after struggled early, pouring in 36 points and more impressively holding New Jersey to just 16. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come this season.
All-Around Rondo: Rajon Rondo finished the preseason in style with another great performance across the board. A couple of breathtaking drives, five boards, three steals and 12 assists were the final tally for the C’s point guard, who already looks to be in regular season form.
He opened things up with a text book jumper and continued to shine from there. I can’t wait to see what he does the Miami’s point guards on Tuesday.
BigBaby: When the NBA first brought in the Sixth Man Award, it was owned by a few great Celtics big men: Kevin McHale and Bill Walton. Sure, Philly great Bobby Jones was the first recipient, but the Celtics’ own sixth men followed in the footsteps of John Havlicek.
The last decade, however, the award has been dominated by guards. Of the last 10 recipients, eight have been guards. The last real forward (I don’t count Mike Miller as a true forward) to earn the title was Antawn Jamison in 2003-04.
Why am I talking about this? Because I think Glen Davis could put up the type of numbers that garner him some consideration for this award. He seems to have regained his jump shot, and still can bang inside and rebound well. He finished with 14 points and seven boards in 23 minutes, playing well next to Kevin Garnett (an experiment the Celtics have been attempting) in limited minutes in the first half.
With Jermaine O’Neals health a question mark and Shaq unlikely to get big minutes, I think Davis could see a lot of time next to Garnett early on in the season. And I think he will produce when he is on the floor. The second unit is looking for him inside, and he is not hesitant to make moves in the paint.
Shaq’s Offense: How about that old school baseline move by Shaq? He was a force as usual inside, finishing with 12 points and nine boards.
That’s about what we should expect from him. He is going to get points with Rondo making passes, and he is going to get boards thanks to his size. Other than that…
Shaq’s Defense: Hate to harp on it, but it is still the case. Shaq is going to struggle on the defensive end. But I think the most disappointing part of his game tonight was his passing. For someone who has been double-teamed constantly throughout his career, Shaq is shockingly bad when he is being swarmed. Twice in the first half he tried to pass out of a double-team and threw the ball away, leading to a fast break for the Nets.
Nothing ugly here besides the Nets in the second half. With the preseason over, look for a full recap later in the week.