Through this three year stretch of dominant Boston Celtics basketball one thing has been consistent.
Tonight's 93-65 victory over Philadelphia was no exception.
The Celtics defense was stagnant holding Philadelphia to only 65 total points and 27 percent shooting from the field.
There were many other positives to take out of this game aside from the defense which will most likely lead all headlines. With all of the national criticism around the league of the Celtics being a team that is old and nonathletic, it is certainly a large question mark entering the season.
For one night at least, Boston put those whispers to rest. The Celtics gave up a minuscule three fast break points against a team in Philadelphia full of young legs that excels through athleticism and running the floor.
The starters played well into the second half and were led by Ray Allen who had 14 points, 8 rebounds and an assist. Shaquille O'Neal added 8 points in almost 16 minutes in his Celtics debut. Although he is not slated to remain in the starting five, he looked quick and was a force in the post.
Pierce, Garnett and Rondo only combined for 14 total points. However on October 6 in a exhibition game against the Sixers, it is not the points they score, but the minutes and experience they give the young guys who are out to prove something in these games.
Once again, "Shrek and Donkey" led Boston's bench, Nate Robinson and Glen Davis each had 13 points off the bench as Glen Davis cashed in at 9-10 from the charity stripe. Robinson is finally out of Doc Rivers' "dog house" and ready to lead this second unit. Clearly, his playful antics at practice have taken a backseat to playing team basketball.
Newcomers Delonte West and Luke Harangody were both surprisingly quiet as West only managed one basket in 13 minutes and Harangody had only 5 points going 1-6 from the field.
The biggest surprise of the night was a seven footer from Turkey. Semih Erden, a Turkish hero thanks to his block preserving a win over Serbia in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Erden cashed in for 13 points shooting perfect from the field. Erden was a man among boys down low, with the size he has and his performance tonight, look for Erden to fight for meaningful minutes on this team.
Overall, a solid opener for the Celtics, however there are always going to be areas for improvement. Boston turned the ball over 20 times and gave up 25 fourth quarter points after giving up only 40 in the previous three.
Tomorrow night, Boston travels to the Prudential Center to take on the new look New Jersey Nets. It will be interesting to see how this veteran team performs in their first back to back night scenario.