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Instant Images from Celtics first win of the season

 Here are my Instant Images from the Boston Celtics first win of the season, a 107-97 victory over the Houston Rockets.


You just knew this game was going to be different in the first 15 seconds of the opening period. The steal by Jayson Tatum - followed by a long pass by Marcus Smart to a sprinting Tatum resulted in a slam and two points. The tone of the game had been set!

When did Al Horford become a rim protector? Al had four blocks in his first game back for Boston, and he racked up three more last night. A small sample, but Horford is averaging 3.5 blocks per game for the young season.

When did Grant Williams become a marksman? In three games thus far, Grant is shooting 14-of-20 (70%) on field goals and 9-of-13 (69%) on 3-pointers. He was 6-of-7 from the field last night and 5-of-7 on treys. Red Auerbach insisted that shooters can't be made, so we can assume the marksmanship was always there - though somewhat inert.

Conversely, Marcus Smart and Dennis Schroder will never be dead-eye shooters. Their 3-game accuracy stats will be my Exhibits A, B, C and D. But they contribute nicely in other ways.

Smart: 29% on FGs and 30% on 3s

Schroder: 38% on FGs and 20% on 3s

Jayson Tatum is reading the opposing defense better. When he goes one-on-one, he does a better job at observing and analyzing the defense - and then deciding whether to go with a turnaround jumper or a drive to the hoop. 

Back to last night's backcourt of Smart and Schroder - these two need to take it into the paint more. Smart's acrobatic, and-one layup at the 8:43 mark of the third quarter brought the Celtics bench to their feet. 

Team toughness was evident when Dennis Schroder lost the ball and he and Aaron Nesmith fought so damn hard to get it back. It wasn't pretty, but it was needed.

Winning cures a lot of ills, and let's hope the winning continues. Let the Lakers clash on the bench. Let the Boston Celtics get on a winning streak. Amen!


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