May 21, 2024

Celtics

The Celtics confirmed the energy of their multi-faceted offense.

The Celtics offense is trying strong to begin the season, however Kristaps Porzingis thinks it will solely get higher from right here. Picture by Maddie Meyer/Getty Pictures

The Celtics demolished the Raptors on Saturday, claiming a 117-94 victory to enhance to 7-2.

Listed here are the takeaways.

1. Getting swept up in particular person wins and losses may be very simple, particularly early in a season, so right here’s our greatest try at measured and rational after 9 video games.

The Celtics are excellent. Their beginning lineup is as marketed and extra. The addition of Kristaps Porzingis provides a dynamic component to the offense that it badly lacked. The bench struggled out of the gate however has — to borrow a phrase from Brad Stevens — added quite a bit to successful lately.

The Celtics blew out the Nets and Raptors on back-to-back nights. They’re nonetheless determining the way to play collectively, however the expertise is so overwhelming that the Raptors stood little or no probability within the closing 24 minutes of Saturday’s recreation.

The Celtics have misplaced two video games this season. Each have been on the highway towards tough opponents, however each confirmed potential downside areas, and a kind of losses was to a possible Jap Convention playoff rival that will have added by subtracting.

“There’s going to be three video games the place we’re going to look insane and three video games the place, ‘Oh, my God, it’s falling aside,’ and all of the followers are going to overreact most likely,” Kristaps Porzingis stated. “But it surely’s by no means as excessive or as little as it appears.”

We don’t know the way good the Celtics could be after 9 video games. We are able to say they seemed actually good on Saturday.

2. Jaylen Brown appeared to let the sport come to him, and because of this, he led the Celtics in scoring with 29. He made just a few 3-pointers, however extra importantly, he acquired to the rim repeatedly in quite a lot of methods. After two fast turnovers, Brown took care of the ball the remainder of the way in which — attacking open area within the pick-and-roll, chopping backdoor for dunks and getting out in transition.

3. The Raptors had no solutions for Porzingis as a screener, which turned clear fairly rapidly. With Jakob Poeltl dropped again within the paint to attempt to include drivers, Porzingis acquired free. When Poeltl got here up greater, the Celtics acquired their most popular mismatches. When Poeltl went to the bench, the Celtics have been too tall.

“He was capable of assist our pick-and-roll ball-handler get some separation away from the display, and so they weren’t veering at first, and so we have been capable of throw again and get into an in depth out and sort of create a second facet motion,” Joe Mazzulla informed reporters after the sport. “As soon as they began veering, we have been capable of get their bigs away from the rim, and that’s the place we have been capable of both give it to him within the publish, or we have been capable of drive it with none rim safety.”

Porzingis left the Raptors with none solutions for the Celtics’ offense. His presence goes to exhaust loads of defensive schemes this 12 months.

4. Porzingis was requested about his two-man recreation with Brown and provided a quote that is perhaps of curiosity to Celtics followers.

“I believe it’s solely at first levels, actually,” Porzingis stated. “He’s clearly very explosive and simply, his physicality, he could make a lot stuff occur on the court docket with how he’s. …

“I believe our chemistry, it’s simply going to get so significantly better. Like, I’m telling you, you’re simply going to see, prefer it’s going to get quite a bit higher. However I really like taking part in with him. He creates loads of the conditions, he attracts loads of consideration and it’s simply opened issues up for myself, for everybody else.”

5. The Raptors weren’t pleased with Mazzulla after he challenged a fourth-quarter name with the sport far out of attain, however Mazzulla (who, by the way, received the problem) provided a reasonably compelling rationalization.

“We’ve been in that scenario earlier than the place we don’t shoot the final shot, we let the clock exit, we do this on a regular basis,” he stated. “However with three-and-a-half minutes to go, and you’ve got a bunch of men that verify in and they’re taking part in as onerous as they will, I believe it’s my accountability to my gamers first. It was a transparent alternative for me to empower the gamers, to allow them to know that I’m teaching you, and people minutes to me are simply as vital as the beginning of the sport.

“That’s what I informed my gamers. I’ll at all times put them first.”

6. The Celtics have been anticipated to wrestle on the glass, however by 9 video games, they’re third in defensive rebounding share at 74.8. The bigs aren’t dominating — Porzingis is within the Fifteenth percentile amongst bigs as a rebounder, whereas Al Horford is within the twenty second, per Cleansing the Glass. However they do appear to be actively boxing out for gamers like Tatum (who’s within the 96th percentile amongst forwards) and Jrue Vacation (who’s within the 97th) to swoop in from the wing, which helps make up the distinction.

7. Sam Hauser is doing his half as a rebounder as effectively — he’s within the 56th percentile amongst forwards, and he seems to have a nostril for the ball when he’s capable of crash away from the play.

Hauser additionally stays red-hot from 3-point vary, ending 4-for-6 from behind the arc Saturday. For the second straight recreation, his level complete (12) was a direct a number of of his 3-point capturing (he made 5 threes for 15 factors towards the Nets on Friday).

8. Take a look at how nightmarish this workforce could be to protect.

To recap: Brown screens the screener earlier than Porzingis runs a pick-and-roll with Vacation. Consequently, Dennis Schröder will get caught on Porzingis. Vacation passes to Porzingis, who doesn’t love his matchup behind the 3-point line with Schröder, so he passes again to Vacation. The 2 play catch as Porzingis backs Schröder deep into the paint, and the Raptors see the plain turn-and-score coming, in order that they double Porzingis with Valuable Achiuwa.

That, after all, leaves at the very least one participant open on the weak facet, so Porzingis finds Horford, who is able to make an prompt further move to Hauser.

Even so, the Raptors recovered fairly effectively, however when Hauser is sizzling, he’s automated.

All of that motion occurred with Tatum on the bench. The ceiling is excessive.

9. For these scoreboard watching this early within the season, the Bucks misplaced once more — this time 112-97 towards the Magic with Damian Lillard sidelined as a result of a calf challenge. The Bucks have the Fifteenth-best offense within the league to this point (which appears more likely to soar considerably since they now make use of Lillard) and the Twenty fifth-best protection within the league (which can most likely go up some however could possibly be a year-long challenge since they now make use of Lillard).

Buying Lillard was clearly an infinite second for Milwaukee. Nonetheless, watching Vacation carve out snug area for himself on a contender in Boston, it’s onerous not to wonder if the Bucks will remorse what they gave up.

10. After sweeping a house back-to-back, the Celtics have a 3rd recreation in 4 nights on Monday after they tackle the Knicks at TD Backyard. They’ll then journey to Philadelphia for the second Wednesday in a row on the highway towards the Sixers.