Despite 0-2 start Celtics giving reasons to be optimistic

The Celtics have started off the 2011-2012 0-2 thanks to a grueling two game opening road trip to New York and Miami.  The Celts lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on opening day by a score of 106-104 and then traveled down to South Beach to face the Heat last night in a game they lost 115-107.  The bad news is that they are 0-2.  The good news is that they keep both games close without Paul Pierce and when Pierce comes back they look to be a deeper team than they were last year.  Here’s what I like and what I don’t like from the first two games:

Brandon Bass has been a versatile presence off the bench for the C's

What I like: Rajon Rondo is playing with a chip on his shoulder after the trade rumors involving him and Chris Paul.  He’s responded with a 31 point, 13 assist, 5 rebound opening game against the Knicks followed by a 22 point, 12 assist, 8 rebound game against the Heat.  He looks like one of the premiere point guards in the league and the bitter taste of the trade rumors aren’t going away anytime soon, so expect him to stay motivated.  Brandon Bass and Keyon Dooling have been great additions to the Celtics bench.  Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench on Christmas day against the Knicks and followed up with a 13 point, 5 rebound performance last night against the Heat.  Dooling was quiet on opening day with 4 points and 3 assists but made up for it last night with 18 points against the Heat, many of which were in the 4th quarter to fuel the Celtics’ comeback attempt.  When Paul Pierce and Mickael Pietrus are back in the lineup the C’s team suddenly looks a whole lot deeper with Pietrus, Bass, Dooling, Marquise Daniels and Chris Wilcox coming off the bench.

Jermaine O'Neal has done next to nothing for the C's in the first two games

What I don’t like:  Kevin Garnett needs to get more involved.  He had 15 points and 8 rebounds on opening day and followed up with a 12 point, 5 rebound performance against the Heat.  That’s not going to cut it.  He may be the one most affected by Pierce’s absence on the offensive side but his rebounding needs to be better for this team to succeed.  Sasha Pavlovic is not good.  He has more fouls (8) than points (5) in the first two games.  He also turned the ball over 4 times last night.  Pierce’s return can’t come soon enough so Pavlovic can go to the bench behind Marquise Daniels who should remain as the primary swing man on the bench.  And also Jermaine O’Neal, what is it exactly that you do out there?

The Celtics look to get their first win of the season tonight in New Orleans and then come home for opening night this Friday against the Pistons.  Hopefully Pierce is back healthy soon and the Celtics can rebound from the 0-2 start and begin their quest for their 18th NBA title.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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