Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen each played their first games in the TD BankNorth Garden for their new teams, helping the Celtics (3-0) defeat the Knicks (2-1) 101-61 last night in Boston. Captain Paul Pierce had a game-high 22 points, while Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett contributed 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The game was never close, as the C’s opened up a 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter. In that first quarter, Allen, Pierce, and Garnett each had seven points. The Celts went ahead 7-5 three minutes into the game on a nifty behind-the-back pass by Garnett, which gave Boston the lead for good. (Full box score from NBA.com)
What They Said
“I came out and bricked my first shot. Better than an air ball, you know? I was just feeling my energy in the building. After that I gave Rondo a little pass and I was good.”
“This building, I could see what it will feel like during the regular season because these fans came out to see this team.”
“With KG and [Allen], it takes a lot of pressure off Paul and allows him to play free now. Ray Allen is another shooter. KG is a great passer. It’s going to be tough to stop them.”
“I think our team played against the press coverage and the press clippings, as opposed to the actual team.”
Stat Line of the Game: Paul Pierce
- PGA (Pierce, Garnett, Allen) all played great. Pierce did especially well, missing just one shot from the floor in scoring 22 points. He also pitched in on defense, registering two blocks as well. It was good to see Pierce bounce back to have such a good game after such a poor one in London last week. You probably know this, but expect Pierce to have A LOT more good games than bad games this coming season. He seems more relaxed on the floor as a result of the arrivals of Garnett and Allen. Finally, the burden of carrying a team alone has been mostly lifted from his shoulders.
- Perkins disappointed me again. It was only preseason, and yes he did manage to get in 20 minutes, but five personal fouls and just one rebound is unacceptable. I expect Perk to progress to a near-10-rebound guy this year. The way he played yesterday, he won’t get close to that this season because he’ll be spending too much time on the bench.
- On that note, Scal, while he played fine, won’t cut it as a primary backup at center. I know Pollard will be fine according to Danny Ainge, but it is disconcerting to only see one center on the bench. I expect the C’s to cut both Jackie Manuel and Dahntay Jones to trim their roster to 14. The league maximum is 15, so I expect them to wait out the preseason to see if any good big men become available.
- Rookie Gabe Pruitt looked really good in extended game action at point guard last night. In 17 minutes, Pruitt had 13 points (6-of-9 shooting) and 4 assists. If he can step his game up to that level on a regular basis, then they C’s won’t have any point guard issues. Rondo and Pruitt would make a nice young combo for the Celtics for many years to come.
- Leon Powe also played extremely well in limited action. In just 11 minutes, Powe scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds (!!), while shooting 3-4 from the field. Powe did have four personal fouls, but made the most of his time while in the game.
Tags: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, preseason, Ray Allen