In the Celtics first game in the brand new Barclays Arena, some basketball was being played through the music being blared through the loud speakers. The Celtics were without Rajon Rondo after his ankle sprain last night, with Leandro Barbosa starting in his place. With the game tied 87, Brooklyn pulled away and despite the Celtics best efforts (including a dicey foul on D-Will down the stretch). Avery Johnson and the Nets employed a fouling strategy down the stretch to make it a free-throw shooting contest and it worked, as the Nets won the game 102-97.
- Jeff Green despite an overall 50 degree weather day (nobody talks about a 50 degree weather day!) came up with a huge defense stop on Joe Johnson and a big three on the other end. The heart he showed down the stretch is another positive sign after his monster dunk last night.
- As expected, the Nets defense could not do much to stop the Celtics offense, even without their floor general in Rajon Rondo. This Nets team was not built to get multiple defensive stops but have a lot of offensive firepower. Ironically, they did just that, gaining a 93-87 lead which the Celtics could not fight back from.
- Rebounding, as it seems to be the hot topic these days, was miserable particularly in the first half. The Celtics gave up a total of 18 offensive rebounds, but looked much better after the half, as I can only assume that Doc ripped into them.
- Courtney Lee was a lot more aggressive in this game, also trying to attack the rim. For my money he should have been guarding Deron Williams from the beginning of the game, as Terry and Barbosa struggled to stay in front of the three-time all-star.
- There was a Jason Collins sighting as it seems as though he has passed Darko on the depth chart. File this under pre-season debates that don’t matter finally resolved.
- Nets looked surprisingly cohesive on the offensive end of the floor, a bit surprising considering all of the pieces they are putting together and how early in the season it is. It probably helps that another player who requires touches, Gerald Wallace, is on the shelf, it will be interesting to see if they will be as cohesive once they have to incorporate him back into the rotation.
- Paul Pierce found some offensive rhythm, hitting a bunch of classic Pierce fade-away jumpers and walk-up three-pointers. Nice to see him break out of a streak of a couple games of tough shooting.
- This just in: Jerry Stackhouse is still in the NBA
A disappointing loss after some positive momentum with three straight wins. Still have a lot to learn, but the fight from the Celtics without Rajon Rondo provides some optimism