Celtics vs Cavs Game 1 Takeaway
The first game of the season was a roller-coaster of emotions, first of all i would like to take this opportunity to send my prayers and those of Celtics-Direct to Gordon Hayward - our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
A poor first half can be forgiven after the harrowing scenes that lead to both teams being reminded that there is more at stake than just basketball. Marcus Smart had a tough night from the field shooting just 5 of 16 and 0 of 4 from the 3, but another stellar defensive night showed just how important he will be for the Celtics this year and beyond (if Danny matches any offer sheet sent his way).
Kyrie is obviously a great talent who will be our No.1 option all year, but it was clear he isn't comfortable running the offence just yet - as evidenced by Smart and Rozier bringing the ball up court on most plays and utilising Kyrie on dribble hand-offs and PNR plays. This will come with time though, Kyrie is and will be an offensive juggernaut for the Celtics sooner rather than later. Jaylen Brown showed huge improvement on both ends, leading the scoring with 25pts on 11 of 23 shooting while grabbing 6 boards and 2 steals. His pace and athletic ability causing issues all night for the Cavs.
Tatum was clearly suffering from nerves in the first half, but turned it around in the second to end his debut with a solid double-double effort - this kid is the future - what a debut NBA game!! Horford was his usual solid self, Baynes was solid as a rim protector and low post threat. We also got short looks at Larking and Semi with both looking able contributors. Rozier is looking more and more like a solid back-up point guard, impressing with a strong box score highlighted by 4 steals.
Whilst defence is the Celtics identity it is going to take a while longer for this team to gel and become cohesive, but judging by this performance there is nothing but good things to come. When we traded IT and Crowder i admit i was worried that we would lose that "Chip-on-the-shoulder" mentality that they bought to our team, i need not have - the team rallied back from an 18 point deficit to lose the game by 3, all whilst dealing with the loss of Hayward early on.
This young Celtics team is on the right track, strides have definateley been made to pull closer to the Cavs and when Gordon is back and healthy the sky is the limit. Now its on to the Bucks tonight - i for one look forward to this with nothing but optimism and intrigue.