The Celtics got an extremely efficient performance from their starting unit, who shot an unbelievable 72% from the floor on 25-49 shooting.
Needless to say, the John Wall-less Wizards were out of this one very early.
The story of the night, however, is the solid performance the C's got from their bench.
Delonte West played his first regular season minutes since returning from a 10 game gun suspension that held him out of the first part of the season.
For the most part, West looked very good: On defense, West created multiple turnovers, including a steal turned transition layup in the second quarter, and a ferocious weak side block of Kevin Seraphin in the fourth. Offensively, West came into his own in the fourth quarter, knocking down all four shots he took: a layup, a long two and two three pointers.
West did the little things too, rebounding and dishing the ball very well. All in all, Delonte finished 5-7 from the field (2-2 from three) for 12 points, along with five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block, all in 21 minutes off the bench.
The C's also got another solid effort from rookie Turkish center Semih Erden.
Are the Celtics the team to beat in the Eastern Conference?
Erden played 21 minutes off the bench, and despite early foul trouble, finished 3-6 from the field with nine points total. Semih was also 3-3 from the free throw line and is shooting 87% (13-15) on the season.
Semih also contributed three boards, two assists and a steal. While he's still obviously learning the American style of play, his skill set is versatile and his talent is very real, and he seems to fit very well in the Celtics system.
C's fans should get used to seeing the "Turkish Giant" on a regular basis; Jermaine O'Neal is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury, while Glen Davis and Semih Erden are the next two bigs off the bench.
Other Game Notes
- Rajon Rondo connected with Kevin Garnett on at least three ally-oops (by my count). Before Garnett went down in '08-'09, Rondo and KG were connecting with each other on ally-oops seemingly every night, and the two were the best PG-F combo in basketball. KG looks in '07-'08 form this early in the season.
- Rondo finished with 13 assists. Just another day at the office.
- Paul Pierce led all scorers with 23 (10-16 from the field).
- The Celtics were able to keep Rondo at 30 minutes and the big three all under 30. This is key as all four were averaging well over 30 a game (Rondo was over 40 at last check), and the Celtics want to reduce their minutes whenever possible to keep them fresh for the long haul.
- Shaq put in another strong performance, going 6-7 with six boards (four offensive) in 22 minutes of play. We might as well just call him "the big steamroller."
- The Celtics set season highs in field goal percentage (66%) and field goals made (50). They were also 62% (8-13) from three.
- Next up for the Celtics are Kevin Durant and Co. this Friday, as the Thunder make their only appearance in Boston this season.