Now before we get ahead of ourselves, it's important to remember that this was not exactly the same Grizzlies team we saw have that surprising season last year. Jaren Jackson Jr is out with an injury, Ja Morant was also out after he sprained his ankle the other night, and while the Celts had their own massive list of an injury report, this result is what should happen while playing at home against an undermanned team. Even on a back to back.
Having said that, boy was it fucking awesome to watch.
I don't know about you, but my heart needed a relatively relaxing night watching this team play. The first four games were far too stressful so it was a nice change of pace to see the Celts completely obliterate someone while Jaylen Brown had the best night of his career. The final score says 19 points, but don't let that fool you. The Celts were up by as much as 32 points, there was only 1 lead change and the game was never tied. It was an ass whooping like you read about.
I look at it like this. If people can talk about how good other teams in the East/NBA look to start the season while they've been able to play the bottom of the league in terms of competition, why should it be any different for the Celts. They started the year off with 4 games against playoff teams. No other top 4 seed in the East can say that. So in their first game against a bad team, they blew them out. No different from any other team that is off to a hot start based on an easy schedule that people are praising right now.
Sometimes you need a game like this to help jumpstart some momentum for a nice stretch of play. That's what the Celts can do with this little break in their schedule. It's alls bout building that momentum and working out the kinks. If we get some insane basketball from our best players, well that's just the cherry on top.
- How could we start anywhere else other than Jaylen. It was the best night of his career without a doubt, and one of the best individual regular season performances in Boston Celtics history
You almost knew right away that Jaylen was locked in. He made that early step in three and it was time to hold onto your butt from there on out. It really is a joy to watch this man play basketball, especially this version. I've never seen Jaylen look better. From his handles, to getting into the midrange, to his outside shooting, to his defense, he's putting up an All NBA caliber season. People understand how important that leap is right? We saw Tatum do this last year and look what happened. I think we were all hoping for an All Star leap from Jaylen this year, but this? This is better than even I could have imagined and I make up unrealistic expectations for these players for a living.
Nights like this are why I am firm in my belief that Jaylen is the most important player on the roster. It's why I said it weeks before the season started. If this leap from Jaylen is real and is consistent, it changes EVERYTHING. Now you're talking about two All NBA level players as the cornerstones of your franchise. I mean people realize Jaylen is averaging 28/4/3 a game on 56/44% splits right? Call it a small sample if you want, I'll call it magical.
Not only that, but he was nails on the defensive end. He held Dillon Brooks to just 2 poitns on 1-6 shooting on his 18 defensive possessions. No Grizzlie player had more than 3 points while being defended by Jaylen. It was truly a flawless two way performance that was a joy to watch from the opening tip.
- On most occasions, Jayson Tatum only taking 12 FGA would be a bit of a problem. Thankfully that wasn't the case last night and all Tatum id was just throw up an efficient 50/60% shooting performance of his own
Togther they both got off to an efficient start and it was a wrap from there. A lot has been made about Tatum's offensive approach, and I'm just here to remind you that he currently has a career high in 3PM (3.0), 3PA (7.2) and 3P% (41.7%). That breakout year he experienced last year (23.4/7.0/3.0 on 45/40%), you know, the one that got him on the All Star team and 3rd Team All NBA?
Well, he's doing it again to start the year at 23.6/8.2/3.2 on 45/41% splits.
I don't know what the Grizzlies scouting report said but I am very happy it allowed Tatum to step right into his three coming off a high screen. Imagine dropping against Tatum? You fools! Best part of his night was the fact that he finished with 0 turnovers and seemed much better at handling the hedge as the primary ball handler in the P&R. It's also great that he was fully on board with Jaylen having his night. There was no jealousy. There was no "it's my turn now" bullshit. Our two best players love each other and there's nothing the haters can do about it.
- This was by far the most active I've seen the Celts defense be for a full 48 minutes. They finished with a comined 28 steals and blocks, they held MEM to 43/27% while also forcing 22 TOs. Those type of numbers aren't going to happen very often when they play a good team, but the Celts needed to show us some defensive intensity after how dogshit their defense has been to start the season.
- Marcus Smart continues to have a very solid start to his season. He's just a guy staying within his role and producing. How could you complain about anything we've seen from Smart so far. Another 14/2/4 with 3 steals, he was only 5-11 and 4-9 from three, his shot selection is still great, it's exactly what this team needs. Yes, he did have that one heat check but it came after he made two threes in a row. You do that, you are allowed to heat check those are the rules.
- We're at the point where Brad might need to seriously consider starting Robert Williams. If not a start, then giving him a consistent 25 minutes a night. The line of thinking with that was that Rob needed to show us he could handle it. Well, my question to you is what else does the man have to do? He is making a tangible impact every single time he's on the floor this year. Last night was no different
This is honestly the best we've ever seen Rob look, so there needs to be a way to get him 20+ minutes like he got in this game. He rebounds well, he challenges EVERYTHING, he has great chemistry with Fast PP and other guards, we're seeing Rob take a leap that this roster desperately needed him to take. The dude was a +28 in 22 minutes, it's time to see what he can do with an expanded role.
- Another solid performance from Payton Pritchard which is basically becoming the norm now, but also the rest of the bench. Aaron Nesmith finally got some playing time and looked like a rookie, but also made a tough ass three. Carsen Edwards….looked like an NBA player. I'm not kidding. He had 9 points off the bench on 4-8 shooting and I'm still holding out hope. For a team that needs shooting, I'm not convinced there can't be a role for Carsen if this is the version we get.
It's not all that often that every single player on the roster finds his way into the box score, and I don't care if this came against scubs in a blowout. It was still the best we've seen the bench play in maybe two seasons.
- Wasn't exactly crazy about the second half defense. The game was a blowout so the Celts probably took their foot off the gas a little bit, but they still lost another third quarter. They still gave up 67 points on 48/50% over the final 24 minutes. it didn't matter obviously but that doesn't mean we can pretend it didn't happen.
- I'm still not totally thrilled with what we're seeing from Grant to start the year. Something just feels off. Maybe it's the fact that he can't stop defending without fouling while also not shooting particularly well, but if he's going to be in the rotation then he's going ot have to be better.
- I don't know how we fix Jeff Teague offensively but we need to fix Jeff Teague offensively. Another 2-6 performance this time coming in the starting lineup, the man was a monster on the defensive end which was a nice change of pace, but he's here to score. That requires putting the ball in the basket.
Remember that horrific 3 on 1 fast break led by Teague where the team couldn't even pull off a layup? That was fun.
- How do you find something for this section in a game the Celts were leading by 32 points? It's not easy, but we don't skip this section until they win at least 5 in a row, those are the rules.
Which is why I'm sitll going to put their third quarter here. It was back to the same old shit. Sloppy passes after sloppy passes (6 TOs), nothing offensively from Tatum who took only 2 shots, this is still a problem for this team. I don't care that they didn't blow their massive lead, they still need to be a billion times better to start the second half. Luckily, Jaylen was insane and helped the team shoot 55% in the quarter, but if you watched it you saw that it was not good basketball. I've yet to see them show up in that quarter at any point this season and I'm going to be concerned about it until I see them improve consistently.
Now at 3-2, the Celts have back to back games against the winless Pistons. There is a real opportunity here for them to build on this win and ride that momentum wave. Don't let the fact that it's early in the season confuse you. All of these games are important and if you can stack wins early to help establish yourself, then even better. The best part is, it might be Tatum that goes for 42 in three quarters next. The two Jays are developing exactly how we all dreamed and boy is it fucking incredible to watch.