It was Deja Vu in a few ways. Jayson Tatum had a tough time finishing in the opening quarter. Gordon Hayward still didn't look super comfortable to start the game - heck he had 5 personal fouls before the end of the half.
The Celtics scored 60+ for the half in as many games. However, besides being a home and home, where you're like, didn't I just watch this team? That was the end of Deja Vu.
Although, before I get into some of the exciting things that took place, I need to remark in both games, a fan has to be really encouraged with the swarming after the defensive rebounds.
Okay, when the 2nd Quarter started, with Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Tatum, on the floor, things got fun. It opened with this:
And from there the Celtics went on to score 21-points in the first five minutes of the second quarter, 13-points from Tatum in a 3-minute stretch to complete a 40-point second quarter.Tatum throws down the fast-break oop! 😳 pic.twitter.com/7F1vhseVhu— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 30, 2018
I would be remiss to mention that Marcus Smart, who played after a day off to attend personal matters, showed why the Celtics were willing to pay him just south of $13 Million per year. His energy was infectious. Their defense just rose to another level. (I'll post soon on why I believe the $13 Million/year was a good investment for the C's)
The starting lineup of Hayward, Baynes, Irving, Tatum and Brown started the second half. It made me think less of it being a pre-season game except for the fact there is no way Brad Stevens would have allowed Hayward to get 5 personal fouls in the first half, nor started him in the third with as many.
Well, Hayward didn't let the five fouls make him play any less aggressive as shown by the Hayward Swat!
HAYWARD SWAT pic.twitter.com/OYnM453NqY— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) September 30, 2018
The end of the third quarter was finished by a vintage Marcus Smart steal and bucket that was later waived.
The fourth quarter saw some time for Smart, Theis, Wanamaker, Yabusele and Ojeleye. While it wasn't overly pretty, its worth noting these guys, speficially Smart, Theis and Ojeleye need to get their reps in.
Fun Fact: Last year the Celtics were 18-1 when Theis recorded 6 or more rebounds in a game.
The waning moments showed another highlight including Robert Williams getting a game winning stop. He just continues to grind defensively.
Thoughts and Observations
Tatum and Brown, for as good as they were last year, look to shine even brighter.
It was good to see Baynes get some time. Baynes has uncanny nack of going straight up defensively, a lost art in protecting the paint. Having him backup Horford shouldn't be overlooked. Nor having a depth at center with Theis.
I do think B.W.A shirts will be coming to a retailer near you. Smart, Baynes, Morris, Rozier, and semi together on the floor bring energy, speed, toughness and offense that most 2nd units will have difficulty matching. And if Tatum bridges the units, having him spend time with the second unit at the end of quarters makes them difficult to guard.
Next game: Tomorrow at 8PM against the Cleveland Cavaliers. No LeBron but Tristan Thompson still thinks they're the team to beat. Well, not if we have anything to say about it.