- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Leftovers after the Boston Celtics lost to the Toronto Raptors in their season-opener on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre:
WALLACE FOCUSES ON DEFENSE
Gerald Wallace played 40 minutes and put up only one shot (a layup midway through the third quarter). There were quality parts of his line (3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals) and while the team probably wants a little bit more offense out of him (3 points), he did an under-the-radar job on defense. According to Synergy Sports data, Wallace defended a team-high 21 possessions and limited the Nets to a measly 0.476 points per play (opponents were 4 of 14 shooting against him). Those are some very encouraging numbers, particularly when you consider the talent the Raptors have on the wings.
COACH RONDO LEADS FROM BENCH
CSN screenshot via @MrTrpleDouble10
Rajon Rondo on the bench Wednesday night.Sporting brown corduroys and a navy blue blazer, Rajon Rondo arrived at the bench for Thursday's season-opener looking like the hippest assistant coach in the league. With a basketball-skinned notebook, Rondo sat on the bench offering his usual advice to his teammates (and coach Brad Stevens). Said Stevens' of Rondo's presence, "I think this will be really good for him. It’s kinda like when you redshirt somebody in college and they have to sit out however many games, they get to watch and learn and see it from a different vantage point, so whenever he comes back, he’s going to be better for it. It doesn’t feel like it now for him or us, but if our team can keep fighting like they did [Wednesday], that’s OK. When he gets back, we’ll be better." Rondo likewise gushed about his new coach's first game after the loss (hop HERE for more on that from the Boston Herald).
NO HOME COOKING FOR OLYNYK
Kelly Olynyk got to play his first NBA regular-season game in his hometown, but first-game nerves might have played a part in a tough night. Olynyk finished with four points on 2-of-5 shooting with no rebounds and three turnovers over 16:18. He was a team-worst minus-19 in plus/minus. As Brad Stevens politely put it: "I thought he looked like he was a first-time player on a road game in the NBA. But he’s had great moments so far. I said beforehand he’s going to be one of our players that we’ll go to all year. He’s just going to get better and better." Olynyk's head must have been spinning a bit because after the game he said he wasn't even sure if his parents ever made it. They did and when a reporter asked if he had a chance to talk with them yet he deadpanned, "No, I didn’t have time during the timeouts or else I would have."
AGGRESSIVE FAVERANI LAMENTS MISTAKES
In his NBA debut, Brazilian center Vitor Faverani wasn't bashful. The Celtics went to him early and often on the blocks and he had 13 points (on nine shots), three rebounds, and two blocks by the intermission. His production quieted in the second half (0 points, 0 rebounds, 3 fouls in nine second-half minutes) and he was hard on himself about the drop-off. Faverani finished at minus-17 on the night. "Too much mistakes, but I feel comfortable on the floor and coach gave me minutes and confidence in me," said Faverani."But I make the mistakes, so that’s bad." Stevens liked the rookie's aggressiveness while drawing the start. "Vitor was very solid early on; he’s got so much room to improve and he’s already improved," said Stevens. "I think certainly we’ve got a keeper there, and we just have to keep helping him get better and better and better."
7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann