Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing analysis. Boston was defeated by the Brooklyn Nets, 97-96, in preseason play on Tuesday evening inside TD Garden.
Avery Johnson and his Brooklyn Nets visited Beantown on Tuesday night for the first ever meeting between the new look Nets and the host Boston Celtics. It was only a preseason game, but at times, you couldn't tell. The game was very physical and the fans got into it. At the end of the day, the Nets came out on top.
Wins and losses don't matter in the preseason, obviously. Sure, players still wan't to win, but at this point of the season, development is more important.
In a game like Tuesday night's, it's important to look beyond the scoreboard.
News flash: Paul Pierce can still score (very effectively)
Worried that Paul Pierce had lost his offensive touch? Perhaps you thought he wouldn't be the same old Paul, the one who moved into second place on the Celtics' all-time scoring list last season? Well, you would be wrong.
Pierce torched the Nets for a preseason-high 29 points while making an impressive 6-of-8 three pointers and 10-of-17 total shots. The Truth did equal damage in all three quarters he played, scoring 10 in the first and second quarters and adding nine points on three treys.
True, Pierce was not going up against the best of the best, as Brooklyn sat its stars on Tuesday. Nevertheless, he was facing some NBA competition, and you have to be pretty talented to score nearly 30 points in any game. Pierce showed that, even though he's now 35 years old, he can still have night like he did when he was in his 20's, and that's very encouraging.
Jeff Green is ready to go
When Jeff Green checked into the game for the first time, he got a well deserved ovation. It had been a long time since Green had played an organized basketball game on the TD Garden parquet. He missed all of last season recovering from a heart disorder that came out of nowhere during camp.
Some wondered if Green would be hesitant when he first returned to the court, concerned about making contact because of what he went through. Well, after Tuesday's performance, you can put those thoughts to rest.
Green didn't shine as brightly as he did in the Celtics' first few preseason games, but he did show that he is healthy enough to be a force on the court. In 27 minutes, Green scored 14 and made 7-of-8 free throws. Green took several big hits during the game, falling hard to the ground early in the second quarter after driving to the basket and taking a charge on the very next play. When Green hit the deck on his way to the hoop, he looked like he was in pain and grabbed his midsection. Nevertheless, he got back up, walked it off and pressed on.
No one should expect Green to be 100 percent healthy, but it's great to see Green back out on the court, and once he finally gets back into game shape, his versatility can really help the Celtics.
It's nice to watch a fast break, isn't it?
We've been used to half court offense. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen or Avery Bradley would bring the ball up, the Celtics would set up a play and execute. There's nothing wrong with that when it works, but deep down, we all like to see a little run-and-gun. It's just more exciting.
We saw some glimpses of that on Tuesday. Boston had 17 fast break points in the loss to Brooklyn and could have had more than 20 if it weren't for a few miscues.
With the old Big Three era, Rondo -- the leader of the run-and-gun (and all other) offenses -- didn't have a lot of toys to play with in that category. That's what made Chris Wilcox such an exciting signing, as he was one of the few players that could run with Rondo.
Now, Rondo has a lot of toys. Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Green, Wilcox and more. Now that the Celtics are a little younger, we might see a more productive fast break. Rondo's surely happy about that, and the fans should be, too.
Next up: Boston has a rematch with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
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