Boston Celtics: FirstImpressions2010

First impressions: Celtics 105, Knicks 101

October, 29, 2010
10/29/10
10:05
PM ET
Brian Babineau/Getty ImagesRajon Rondo skies towards the basket against the Knicks.
BOSTON -- First impressions after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 105-101 Friday night at the TD Garden:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON
Rajon Rondo didn't just produce a triple-double, he put a charge into Bob Cousy's franchise record for assists in a single game (28) by totaling 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a jaw-dropping 24 assists to fuel Boston's offense. Paul Pierce finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Kevin Garnett added 24 points and 10 rebounds. Amare Stoudemire finished with a game-high 27 points for the Knicks.

TURNING POINT
The Celtics led by four coming out of halftime, but the starters pushed that lead to double digits early in the third quarter. Rondo's fast-break layup with eight minutes to play in the frame put Boston on top, 65-54, its biggest lead of the night, and the Celtics hung on from there (despite a late charge from the Knicks, who cut their deficit to two with 15.4 seconds to play).

STAT OF THE GAME
Rondo's 24 assists are impossible to overlook, especially considering that was the total number of assists for the Knicks (twice already this year, he's exceeded or matched the opposing team's assist total). But Boston also did a fantastic job rebounding the ball, owning a 53-37 advantage overall, and this despite playing with a small lineup for much of the night.

UNSUNG HERO
Glen Davis might sweep this spot all year at this rate. Yet again, he fuels the bench effort, registering 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting with six rebounds and a whopping plus-15 in the plus/minus category over 24 minutes before fouling out with 2:33 to go. On a night the Celtics were without Jermaine O'Neal (sore left knee) and Shaquille O'Neal limped off in the fourth quarter, Davis comes up big for a second unit deprived of available height.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics bounce back and wash away the taste of a sour loss in Cleveland. On a day in which a post-shootaround fight marred the pregame chatter, it was Rondo's big night and a solid win that people were talking about after. The Celtics now get an extended rest before traveling to Detroit on Tuesday.

First impressions: Celtics 88, Heat 80

October, 26, 2010
10/26/10
10:15
PM ET
David Butler II/US PresswireThe Celtics offered much resistance against LeBron James and the Heat.
BOSTON -- First impressions after the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 88-80 in the NBA season opener Tuesday night at TD Garden:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON
Ray Allen scored a team-high 20 points, connecting on 5-of-8 trifectas, including a monster corner 3-pointer (with LeBron James scrambling to cover) to essentially seal the game with 49.8 seconds to play after the Heat had cut Boston's lead to three. Paul Pierce added 19 points and nine rebounds, while Kevin Garnett produced a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. LeBron scored a game-high 31 points for Miami, while Dwyane Wade chipped in 13 points and Chris Bosh finished with 8.

TURNING POINT
In a cringe-worthy first quarter (in which the teams combined to shoot 29.7 percent) and the Heat mustered a mere 9 points, the Celtics opened a 7-point cushion, but stretched it out early in the second quarter behind the second unit. Marquis Daniels connected on a trio of shots, including two layups and a little pull-up, and Boston's lead ballooned to 31-15 after a fast-break dunk by Nate Robinson.

STAT OF THE GAME
The Heat shot a mere 36.5 percent (27-of-74), including 23.5 percent (4-of-17) in that first quarter. Boston leaned on its defense when it needed it most.

UNSUNG HERO
Glen Davis scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting over 29 minutes with Jermaine O'Neal still in preseason form. Davis scored a couple of monster fourth-quarter hoops to keep the Heat at bay.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics, the defending Eastern Conference champs, can continue to state that the road to the conference crown goes through Boston after dispatching the much-ballyhooed Heat (and doing it in convincing fashion). Now the grind of an 82-game season really begins and Boston's veteran roster gets its first taste of a back-to-back Wednesday night in Cleveland. As can be expected, there were positives (Boston's overall defense) and negatives (20 turnovers), but maybe the Celtics' ability to win a big home game -- something it failed to do much of last season -- is most encouraging.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9