Home sweet home, that’s was the thought going through every Celtics fans mind tonight while watching the C’s return to the Garden and provide their most resounding victory thus far this season. The Celtics lead for the majority of the game and looked more like the dominant Eastern Conference Final shoo-in we thought they could be preseason.
Before we get too excited, it was just one game against the lowly Chicago Bulls who were missing some key players with injuries tonight. But nonetheless this is what we should be seeing the Celtics do against the bottom feeders of the league, not having to come back from 22 down to force overtime like we saw against the Phoenix Suns. These are the gimme games that you can’t afford to lose and ones where this talented squad should be able to rest their starters down the stretch with a big lead like we saw tonight.
Like we have come to expect this team looked much improved on defense on their home floor, forcing 22 turnovers and 12 steals while out rebounding the Bulls on the night. Again a lot of those turnovers were a result of poor play by Chicago, but it was quite the relief to see our boys show up on defensive end for an entire game for maybe the first time this season.
On the offensive side of the ball there wasn’t any eye-opening performances but we did see all 5 starters reach double figures and we saw the ball moving around along with a better spacing and flow to this offense than we saw during the 1-4 West Coast Road Trip. The Celtics converted 42 field Goals on 27 assists. While they still took 34 threes tonight I think we saw a concerted effort all around to get the ball in the lane and take it to the basket more, after all that is how you get those open threes to begin with, drive and dish.
In some food for thought, I know everyone talks about the lack of production from Tatum and Hayward and how that has been a key factor in this recent slump. While you wouldn’t be wrong, I think after watching Jaylen Brown go for 18 tonight and make some athletic plays on both ends of the floor that he can really be the guy that gets this offense going when he plays like he did tonight. When he is making plays on both ends of the floor this team looks at its best. He may be the spark that can ignite this team on a nightly basis.
Another thing I saw last night was Brad’s ability to get some of the guys off the end of the bench into the game late, he hasn’t really had a chance to do that so far this season with the Celtics trailing late in many games or having tightly contested battles. Giving Brad the ability to flex different guys in there not only will allow us to rest some key guys but give him ideas of future lineups/rotations that may be effective. Idk about all of you but I loved seeing the lineup of Irving, Rozier, Semi, Hayward and Baynes. They looked tough on defense and were moving the ball around as well as I’ve seen all season. This could be an idea of a lineup to go with to close out the 1st and 3rd quarters and actually allow this Celtics team to play into their number one strength as a team. THE DEPTH
While I stated at the top this was just one game against a weak Bulls team there is certainly a lot of reasons to remain optimistic after tonight’s win, We play two tough teams at home next, facing the Raptors and Jazz. But if we can win those two home games take a look at the next 10-12 games these Celtics face. This isn’t exactly a murderers row coming up in the near future and if we can win these next two we could be streaking like a fraternity brother here shortly.
For now Celtics fans lets take a collective sigh of relief, know that there is still a lot of work to be done here but I think we can all slowly takes a few steps back from that panic button we we’re eyeing last week.