Tonight the Celtics have their home opener at the Garden as they host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30PM Eastern. The Celtics endured a rough game against the Heat in the season opener, falling 120-107. In that loss, the Celtics looked just how a team that added several new faces in the offseason should look: Dysfunctional and Inconsistent. There were several miscues on both sides of the floor. The offense, although looked incredible in transition, looked stagnant at times. The C’s have undeniably gotten deeper and arguably have more offensive weapons than ever before during this new era. However, against the Heat, it looked like they had trouble using those weapons and maximizing them to their full potential. This is a problem that will almost certainly be solved as the season goes on. On defense the Celtics suffered several breakdowns and missed rotations. It just didn’t look like the in-sync defense that the Celtics faithful have grown accustomed to watching over the past years. The key right now is patience, as these problems will resolve themselves as the season goes on. Doc Rivers will have this team ready, and don’t forget, the first game was against the Miami Heat.
Nevertheless, here are 3 keys to watch for during the Celtics home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks
1. Jeff Green
Let’s be honest, Jeff Green looked like a lost player against Miami. He was tentative on offense and got dominated on defense. He looked like a shell of the aggressive player we all saw in the preseason. Giving Green some benefit of the doubt, it was his first meaningful game in over a year, and that matchup did come against the best player in the world in LeBron James. However, Green did sign a 4-year $36 million deal this offseason. He has to live up to that contract and posting 3pts and 3rebs over 23 minutes without registering a field goal is not acceptable.
Tonight against the Bucks poses a much more favorable matchup for Green, which sets a great stage for him to breakout. If he doesn’t produce, it’s not the end of the world, but if he continues to underproduce, it might be time to hit the panic button.
The Celtics defense was atrocious versus the Heat. In the past, defense has been Boston’s identity and pillar of success. On Tuesday, the defense was on their heels throughout the whole game. As written above, defensive continuity will take time, but it is definitely something to keep an eye out for tonight. It will be interesting to see how the defense bottles up the dynamic duo of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The outcome of that matchup could serve as a great building block.
3. KG’s Offense
Last year against the Heat in the playoffs, KG was the focal point of the offense. In the season opener, it seemed as though KG was never a first scoring option and that really threw the Celtics off. Last season and in the playoffs, KG thrived running the pick-n-pop with Rondo, consistently knocking down the mid-range to long jump shot. I can’t remember that play being ran one time on Tuesday night. Tonight against the Bucks, look for the Celtics to get back to that and try to get KG back in his groove. When KG’s jumper is falling, the Celtics offense becomes deadly, this year especially because of all the new additions.
There should be a lot of energy in the arena tonight. It’s early in the season but it will be very interesting to see how this team progresses and comes together throughout the season. It definitely hurt to drop the opener to the Heat, but Celtics Nation knows that the C’s will be much more ready for that matchup the next time around. My faith is in Doc Rivers.