|Well Brad, what do you think?|
Predictably Marcus Smart was one of the Celtics to announce his presence early in the first quarter, and perhaps less predictably, the other was Jordan Mickey. Smart missed his first few jumpers badly, but finished strongly on a layup plus the foul, and knocked down a couple of threes on his way to a 13 point first quarter. He did all that while holding Utah's Dante Exum to zero points.
Mickey hit a jumper, and finished a couple hoops in the paint, while playing good defense and looking good against the pick and roll. Rozier was quiet, but had two impressive steals, including one attempted Utah outlet that he picked off like an NFL linebacker that surprisingly showed up in a passing lane.
Smart is out here doing everything. Floor burns, threes, strong drives, smart pick-and-roll passing. 13 points, 3 asts, 1 stl in the first.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) July 7, 2015
The 2nd quarter opened up with a James Young to Eric Buckner alley-oop that had Buckner soaring well above the rim. That was pretty much the only high point of the 2nd quarter for the C's, as their first quarter lead of 25-20 turned into a halftime deficit of 51-40. With Smart resting for most of the quarter, Exum and the Jazz woke up.
Exum had 12 points and Utah outscored the C's 31-15, and at one point went on a 17-2 run that saw both the Celtic offense and defense look absolutely lost with Smart out of the game.
The 3rd quarter was slightly better for the Celtics. Smart got his first egregious flop of the season out of the way early in the period, and Mickey had one big block and a great finish off a nice pass from Smart in the pick and roll. Despite their shooting woes from deep, the C's cut the lead to 6 by the end of the 3rd.
In the final frame we saw two video reviews on fouls (including one that charged Smart with a flagrant foul), James Young finally make a 3 (there's a reason you haven't seen his name yet), Cooley continue to bully our smaller frontcourt, and the Jazz slowly distance themselves for to clinch the win.
We all expected Smart to lead this team, and he did. He led the team in scoring and floor burns, and looked much improved running the pick and roll. He played with intensity, and took the ball to the basket more aggressively and more frequently than last season.
Jordan Mickey looked very good and was a definite highlight. He had some nice finishes in the paint, and off the pick and roll. He played good D and moved his feet well hedging the pick and roll defensively as well. Mickey was outmuscled on the boards by Utah's bigs (Jack Cooley mostly, who is way bigger than Mickey), but showed his athleticism and versatility with some big blocks and nice all around play. He finished with 16 points on 7-8 shooting, while grabbing 4 rebounds with 3 big blocks.
Terry Rozier did it all, but on a small scale (7 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals). He was getting into the paint and kicking out to the corners, and I like the way he pushes the ball off a miss. He didn't look overmatched on either end, grabbed some steals and made some nice plays and smart decisions on offense.
R.J. Hunter gave us nothing on offense, missing all 4 of his field goal attempts, and putting up a zero for the game. He looked overmatched on defense, which coming from a zone defensive system in college we knew he would need to work on. It's only one game, hopefully he can settle in and figure out how to find his spots.
What can you say about James Young? Again, it was only one game, but after hearing all the offseason hype, we were obviously hoping for more. He ended up with 12 points, but was 1-5 from three point range, and 4-11 overall. At times he did look a little better with on-ball defense, but seeing a little aggression (besides the one dive he had for a loose ball) would have gone a long way on a night where his jumper wasn't falling.
Overall the Celtics shot 6-25 from downtown, while Utah shot 9-26. Utah also won the rebounding game decisively, 51-31.
Photo Credit: Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images
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Chris Thompson 7/06/2015 11:06:00 PM Tweet Edit