Fifty-four times to be exact...rebound that is.
The Celtics’ defense looked better than their offense tonight as you can tell that they are still getting comfortable with each other on the scoring end of the court.
They held the Knicks to eight first quarter points on 3-of-22 shooting and never relinquished the lead.
Kendrick Perkins was supposed to be the defensive force, which he was, but he also came out offensive minded, scoring seven first quarter points, mostly against David Lee, to lead the team. Putting that little jump shot to good use, KP finished 5-of-7 overall for 14 points and game honors.
Perkins was so good that an alley oop meant for Garnett went right in. It was a good thing, as I don’t think KG would have converted it otherwise.
The Rasheed Wallace show debuted as a Celtic. He rained three pointers, unpacked a few post moves, led the game in rebounding with 12, played with starters and the second unit., and finished with 13 points to tie with Ray Allen for second honors on the team.
How did Rasheed described his game?
It was okay. Mediocre. You know just trying to do things defensively. I’m not worried about no offense, you know, because shots will fall. Even though I missed my first few, that’s alright.
The Kevin Garnett watch will be on for a while. He looked okay tonight, except he got kicked in the calf at one point. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and 8 rebounds. His 18-foot jumper is still there. He looks okay but not very smooth on the court yet.
Yeah, he (Jared Jeffries, I think) kicked me in the calf. That didn’t help things. A little hot pack and some ice. I thought I finished the game pretty well.
“No, I’m not back to where I want to be. But I don’t have any worries when I go out and play. You know, I’m putting in the time. I’m putting in the work, and I’m doing everything they ask me to do, and then some.And on top of things, I’m just getting stronger. It’s about time and duration at this point. I’m not even thinking about (my knee). “
This should be a headline...Ray Allen missed three foul shots...in the first quarter. I don’t know when that last happened. Maybe high school.
Ray was active all night, and handled bringing the ball up court at times. He had six first quarter points to go with two steals and two rebounds.
Rajon Rondo had trouble with fouls all night. Doc kept him in there with 5 fouls at one point, but put Lester Hudson in with him and Paul Pierce brought the ball up. Rondo finished with 6 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.
He looked for his jump shot early and missed a wide open "dare" three pointer. Over all, he was active defensively, and the team was +16 when he was in the game.
Paul Pierce’s shooting rhythm was off early, starting 1-7, but he finished 4 of 12 for 9 points including an emphatic, crowd pleasing reverse dunk off a pass from Garnett .
Oh man. I don’t know where that came from.You know, I’m good for one of those like every 20 games. So about four times a year. My legs feel fresh right now, feel pretty good. Trying to get the fans into it.
Thanks to Brian Scalabrine’s 3-for-4 from downtown, the Celtics shot as well from the arc (42.9% on 9 of 21) as from the field generally (43.9%).
Playing more around the middle with Rasheed on the team, Glen Davis had a productive game in 16 minutes, scoring 7 points to go with 8 rebounds, and a block.
Marquis Daniels was quiet offensively shooting just 1-of-5 but looked comfortable out there for the most part. There were times when he and Rasheed weren’t quite sure what to do with ball and ended up with difficult last second shot clock attempts. That will improve with time.
Both teams ended up with 9 steals and 18 turnovers. The Celtics held the Knicks to 37.7 percent shooting and the Knicks shot just 5 for 31 from the three point line, some of them were wide open looks. David Lee played center and was in foul trouble from early on, but finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes.
So the Celtics generally looked pretty good, especially defensively. Brian Scalabrine was not used at the three tonight and he was more effective filling the same role he did last season, drilling the open three and playing the power forward.
But until Bill Walker returns, Scal may be asked to slide over to the small forward position from time to time, he said, especially in practice.
Dov Rivers on the value of Rasheed Wallace...
He just spreads the floor and he has a post game. And he’s a terrific passer, too, so he does a lot for us, obviously.g Gives great spacing for our team.
I did get a lot out of…the starters got a lot of minutes and good rhythm and they handled it very well.
So far things are looking good getting Wallace and Daniels folded into the team. Doc said they are going with a greatly simplified playbook right now and are just letting the veterans play fundamental basketball with about five different offensive sets (which each have variations). The starting five will come together soon enough.
This article first appeared at Celtics Central. Agree or disagree, let Tom know how you feel.