1. Being a diehard Celtics fan, it hurt to see Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce play against the Celtics. Both played to their current ability, which is to say they played like role players on a high end playoff team. I will always have a special place in my heart for both guys, but are they worth three first rounders at this stage in their careers? Probably not.
2. WOW the Nets are big. Against the Celtics, Brooklyn essentially had size/strength advantages at every position. Boston couldn’t get much going to the hoop when the Nets had their starters in.
3. Props to Jason Kidd for running action to get Brook Lopez low post position. The Nets continuously ran a flex set where players were cutting off screens set by their teammates on the block. This forced defensive help to take away easy layups, but once Lopez man took even one step away from him, he set himself on the block and couldn’t be moved. Lopez is the type of scoring center that when he gets low post position it is almost a guaranteed two, which is what this play intended to exploit.
4. When the Nets are completely healthy they are the third best team in the East. With their size they can bear down and prevent opponent from going anywhere near the paint. On offense they are guaranteed to have at least one size mismatch that they can post off for easy buckets. Brook Lopez and Deron Williams are elite scorers for their positions, if they are healthy and their teammates can fit around them, they will be very good for the rest of the year.
5. Although the Nets looked very good against a hot (well at least what is considered hot in the frigid East) Boston team, one of their weaknesses came to the forefront. The Nets when healthy can be one of the best paint protecting teams in the league. In effort to clog the lane, the Nets tend to leave three point shooters open, especially in the corners. The Celtics were able to stay in the game last night behind 50% (11-22) shooting from three point territory. When the Nets face better three point shooting teams this could become a problem.
6. As a Celtic fan I always think Boston is getting screwed by the refs, but aggressive teams will always get the benefit of the doubt. The Nets consistently played in the post and got to the rim, while the C’s could do no more than jack up threes. 99 times out of 100 the calls will go the way of the aggressor (with their size and strength the Nets will be the aggressor most nights). In other words expect the Nets (with their full compliment of players) to spend a lot of time in at the charity stripe this year.
7. The Celtics are playing very well with what they have, going 10-13 so far. When the Nets put the clamps down defensively, the Celtics lacked a playmaker to put his head down, get to the hole and create shots. Rondo will help in this respect when he returns, but even with him this team is probably one creator short of being a good offensive team (they are also a defensive center short of being a very good defensive team).