Nearly five months after their 2011-12 season ended on the same floor, the Boston Celtics returned to American Airlines Arena and opened 2012-13 with a 120-107 loss to the Miami Heat. Though it wasn't the start to the year the Celtics were looking for, for Boston fans it's just good to have this team back on the court. Between the effort the Celtics mounted last season and the great offseason they enjoyed, there's plenty of excitement and anticipation surrounding this team.
Doc Rivers has talked about using different starting lineups, particularly varying the power forward spot, depending on matchups. His first starting five of the season featured Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, and Kevin Garnett going up against a team with an athletic frontcourt. Bass enjoyed a nice opener with 15 points and 11 rebounds against a Heat team that never put a true center on the court.
For the first time in years, the Celtics looked like a team that wasn't used to playing together. They dealt with miscommunication on both ends of the floor leading to turnovers and missed defensive rotations. With all the new additions to the team, it will take some time for them to gel, but when they do this has the potential to be a top flight team. Several Celtics including key additions Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Jeff Green found themselves out of position or out of sync with their teammates at times. As they become more familiar with the system and their new teammates, the miscommunication turnovers and defensive breakdowns should become far less frequent.
Those defensive breakdowns are certain to be Rivers' primary focus in the coming days. Last season, the Celtics led the league in points allowed per possession and they ranked second in the league in points allowed per game. The components for a great defense remain in place, particularly when Avery Bradley returns, and it's always the primary aim of a Kevin Garnett or Doc Rivers team.
The Celtics will now look forward to their home opener on November 2, against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks feature a more traditional frontcourt with quality rebounders in Ersan Ilyasova and Samuel Dalembert. That should translate to more minutes for rookie Jared Sullinger and possibly his first start.
Boston Celtics, Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Celtics
- Kevin Garnett
- Miami Heat
- Doc Rivers
- American Airlines Arena
- Courtney Lee