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The Celtics Celebrate KG's "Last" Appearance At The Garden In Perfect Fashion As Things Get Back On Track

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Now THAT looked like Celtics basketball. The three game losing streak is now a thing of the past, and I for one, am happy to see it leave. Last night was just what the Celtics needed to get back to basics after a very tough stretch of their schedule. I think this is a pretty fair depiction of what this Celts team is. They can run with the very very good teams but fall just short, beat the good teams, and slaughter the bad ones. By no means is MN anything to write home about this season, other than the fact that they are an example of the other end of the spectrum. What I mean by that is they are built around high (I mean really high) lottery talent. Sot of a look into your future kind of situation if you ask me. The Celtics tried the tanking route to try and build their team this way, and while I love Marcus Smart he is not Andrew Wiggins, but I’m not sure the Wolves are in a better spot than the Celtics are moving forward. Wiggins/KAT are going to be ridiculous for a very long time, but the Celtics have lapped them in terms of rebuilding.

The key to that rebuild was sitting on the other side of the floor last night, and Game 28 could be the last time KG ever steps foot in the Garden (which by the way I’m not positive happens. MN needs a coach, you can’t tell me KG couldn’t collect another 12m to be a player/coach next year. Heard it here first). It was only fitting that the Celtics would turn in a vintage performance to honor their beloved former leader, finishing the night with GINO as the icing on the cake.

KG has meant so much to me, so much to all of us as Celtics fans its hard to try and put it all into words. For the REAL first time in my life, that Big 3 Era made the Celtics relevant in ways I didn’t know were possible. It gave me something in common with all the old timers who sit in my section (shouts 11) who has seen every generation of Celtics win titles. There is really only one way to sum up what the KG Era was for Boston, and surprisingly, this commercial sums it up perfectly.

Ok before it starts getting a little dusty in here, let’s relive the great performance from last night.

The Good

– With Sullinger and Amir Johnson both out, we got a chance to see Brad work his magic on a new starting lineup. Remember the Celts hadn’t really been playing their best basketball, and when it came out that Olynyk and Lee were starting, I panicked. But in a weird turn of events, the starters responded. That first quarter was like watching a completely different basketball team, as they shot 59% and scored 34 points. The Celts have been getting off to great starts recently, and I was happy to see this continue.

And would you look at that, Avery had another strong opening quarter. A solid 3-5 shooting and 8 points, he is maybe the best first quarter player these eyes have ever seen. We’ll work on the remaining three quarters later, when Avery helps jump start the game like he did last night, the Celts can be tough to beat.

– I guess we can talk about it now, but holy shit that three point shooting. The Celtics were 7th in the NBA going into last night in 3PM at about 9.5 per game. Last night they shot 12-25(45%) and it was everyone. Jae made a couple, Olynyk had three, Jonas (!) had three, Bradley two for example. What I loved more than these guys making them, was the way in which they happened. The Celtics made the extra pass and did not hesitate. Even Olynyk! Every time MN tried to make it close, boom, dagger three. For a team that really can’t shoot, this was a VERY welcomed surprise.

– I mentioned Jae’s shooting from deep, but how about his all around game? 24 and 10 against ATL, followed up by a solid 18 and 10 last night. If Crowder is going to contribute like that on the glass, then he is going to allow Stevens to mess with some interesting small ball lineups while not sacrificing anything on the glass. Anyone who isn’t buying in on Jae Crowder’s development simply isn’t paying attention. 7M a year for this guy too. Trader Danny I fucking love you.

– Speaking of development, we got a glimpse of the future of Kelly Olynyk. See Olynyk haters will tell you he’s just a slow white guy, who can’t play defense. They’ll ignore his 98 defensive rating, and yeah while he is definitely very slow, he gets to his spots. Not to mention is stroke is pure. The guy is 7ft and seriously is showing more and more skills that lead me to believe Dirk-Lite is a possibility. He’s young, so consistency is still his biggest hurdle. That I won’t argue. However when he plays like he did last night, it’s impossible not to get giddy. He is such a matchup problem and I only see him getting better. The confidence that Kelly played with last night was clearly contagious, he even said so

- Maybe my favorite sequence of the game came at the end of the first quarter and beginning of second third quarter. I’m talking about the BOMB half court heave by RJ Hunter that shocker, he made, and then at the 9 minute mark of the second quarter when James Young nailed that three. That was when I reached FULL Celtics orgasm, and it was everything I remembered. A stoolie sent this to me once it happened, and it pretty much was a live look at the Greenie house 

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But the real tweet of the night comes from the man we all thought of the moment RJ hit that shot. 


Aside from his shooting, how about the effort we got from RJ Hunter? Maybe his most complete game of his career. Burning people for backdoor cuts left and right, playing some legit defense finishing with 3(!) blocks, RJ was fantastic. Again it hurts to see because it’s coming at James Young’s expense, but Hunter has shown he can play in this league, and yup you guessed it, just 2,962 behind Ray!

– I really enjoyed the way Isaiah played point guard last night. He was really the only Celtic that struggled shooting (3-9) but the way he was able to get into the paint and distribute the basketball was beautiful to watch. He finished with 12 assists and just 1 turnover and I just thought he played with great pace.  He still jumps when he passes which drives me insane, but if Isaiah isn’t going to turn the ball over, I can live with it.

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– It was as if Isaiah set the tone to move the ball. 34 assists on 46 baskets. That kids is a 73% assist percentage. When that happens, you usually win. Now you know.

– Finally, need to give a quick shout out to Tyler Zeller’s performance. A guy that has gone from starting, not not even playing, to starting, you couldn’t tell. Zeller provides a soft touch around the rim, can hit a midrange jumper and is a good FT shooter. That is all fine and good, but what I love most about his time on the floor is the way he runs. Probably a handful of times Zeller is getting the rebound (8) and is beating absolutely everyone down the floor for an easy fast break layup. I LOVE bigs that run, and Zeller does this maybe better than any true center in the league.

The Bad

– Not a lot to choose from, but one scenario comes to mind. Coming out of a timeout with 2 min left in the first quarter, Evan Turner gave up a wide open three to Kevin Martin, then on the very next possession, had a brutal turnover to Zach LaVine that put him on the line. This little swing didn’t end up costing the Celts, but was frustrating nonetheless

– FTs. Again. 56% shooting as a team. Combined with the 16 turnovers, the Celtics are very lucky they shot the ball at a ridiculous clip, because those are two ingredients that usually lead to a loss.

– Only 6 minutes for James Young seems a little low, since this game was mostly a blow out. Evan Turner got 23. You be the judge if that looks funny to you.

– Sadly, Avery disappeared for pretty much the entire game after the first quarter. You’re shocked I know. I just got get why this happens. Why suddenly do the move away form him after such strong starts? Why does he decide to all the sudden take worse shots when he does get that opportunity? Weird, weird stuff.

The Ugly

– The Celtics were destroyed by Karl Anthony Towns. Holy shit is he a freak. He can shoot, he can defend, and has great touch, just a ridiculous player. He beassted for 26 and 14 with 3 blocks, and the kid is 20. KG is going to mold him into an absolute monster.

– In maybe the worst part of last night, KG didn’t see the floor. I get that he was sick or whatever, and there was no point to play him, but I think the people of Boston deserved to see it one “last” time. Even if all he did was trash talk and make fun of Olynyk or something, I wish he got in at some point.

 

And with that, the Celts are trending back in the right direction. As I wrote after the ATL game, things are about to get easier for the Celts over these next 7 games, and if they play like this, I think we’ll all be happy.

I just want to finish by saying thank you KG. Thank you for the highs, the lows, and most importantly, the banner. You are truly the GOAT.

15 down 32 to go.

 

P.S.