I don’t know who Chris Copeland is, but I sincerely hope there is only one of him in the NBA, or the Celtics are going have their hands full defensively much more often than we would like.
Copeland ripped apart the Celtics again, dropping 34 points on a variety of defenders. Most of his points came off pick and roll cuts and backdoor cuts, as well as a variety of threes from progressively deeper and deeper. It was, frankly, disturbing.
Fortunately, after a very slow start, the Celtics surged back in the second and fourth quarters, bringing the game close in the second and blowing it open in the fourth. Many points were had, hilarity ensued when Fab Melo took the court and airballed everything into oblivion, but when the dust settled, the Celtics improved to 3-4 in the preseason.
I mentioned in an earlier recap my distaste for people who don’t believe preseason games mean anything. Originally, I meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I really do believe we can learn things from preseason, even if we can’t take much away from high point totals and final scores.
For example, I don’t believe that we can expect Jeff Green to average 20+ points per game and make an all-star team, even though he has clearly been one of the best players in the NBA this preseason. We can’t expect him to consistently shoot 10-16 from the floor and lead the C’s back from a huge deficit night in and night out.
But that doesn’t mean that these games have taught us nothing about Jeff Green. For example, we know that he has an extremely explosive first step, in part because his first step is bigger than the average person’s standing long jump. We know that he has a variety of shots in his arsenal, few of which we saw in his first half season with the Celtics. We know that he is incredibly athletic, as evidenced by his absurd chasedown block against Mychel Thompson.
So while we can’t make any kind of statement as to whether the Celtics are actually better than the Knicks after a win like tonight, we can still be very encouraged by the progress we have seen in certain players’ games. That’s good enough for me.
Some bullet points:
- Boston beat New York 39-33 on the glass. Read that last sentence again. I’m not kidding. The C’s actually won the rebounding battle for once, in part because of (drum roll please) Jared Sullinger, Boston’s leading rebounder! Sully grabbed eight boards tonight. Remember when naysayers (myself in particular) said that Sullinger couldn’t be expected to make an impact on this team as a rookie? He’s starting to change my mind.
- Micah Downs scored six points, including a fancy behind-the-back move that led to an easy layup in the second quarter. It was an impressive play, but Pierce’s face afterward was what made the moment classic, as the Truth stood up on the bench and made a face like KG had just ripped one.
- Don’t be too freaked out by Rondo’s six turnovers…several of them happened early when he clearly wasn’t engaged. Rondo began the game very lackadaisically, flipping the ball around in a carefree manner that is unlikely to carry over into the regular season.
- Kris Joseph showed some of the first real flashes we’ve seen from him. He scored two consecutive 3-point plays to start the fourth quarter that really got the Celtics rolling nicely, and he threw down a nice alley-oop pass from Micah Downs.
- I could NOT be more pleased with what we are seeing from Jason Terry. He’s so confident, so comfortable and so utterly without the semblance of a conscience when it comes to shooting the ball, he is bound to be an infusion of offense night in and night out. For an offense that would go completely stagnant last year, dragged along by elite levels of defense, Terry is going to be a wonderful (insert generic sports term for “spark plug” here).
- The Jared Sullinger vs. Brandon Bass debate is going to be fascinating to watch unfold over the course of the season. Sullinger is not making the decision any easier by playing great, fundamental basketball every night we see him and demonstrating a basketball IQ well beyond his years. My current solution would be to start Brandon Bass (saving the feelings of a very talented player), but give Sullinger more minutes (allowing the Celtics to utilize his many gifts as much as possible). But quite frankly, I would be completely stuck if I was in Doc’s position.
- Just wanted to point this out: I went to Paranormal Activity 4 tonight, and at no point this evening did I see anything even remotely as terrifying as Chris Copeland. I’m going to sleep with the lights on tonight.
That’s all for tonight, folks. Enjoy your Sunday.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.