Andrew Doxy: Kyrie Irving is amazing at a lot of things, but one thing I’ve noticed in particular tonight is how good he is at drawing fouls on his way to the rim by just taking an exaggerated second step. When he drives hard, he’ll gather the ball, take a quick first step, but then take a slow concentrated second step to get defenders in the air.
He got Julius Randle with this move in the second quarter, and that second step baited Randle into the foul. It’s a tremendous display of Irving’s athleticism to be able to switch speeds just between those two steps.
Greg Cassoli: Injuries are the worst. The Celtics win tonight was really impressive, and fun despite its aesthetic flaws, but the absences of Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and eventually Jayson Tatum were decidedly notable. To work as hard as each of Boston's sidelined stars have and not be able to compete has to be incredibly frustrating. You can't help but feel for them. Here's to hoping the injury gods give the Celtics a bit better luck moving forward.
Lachlann Marr: Baynes showed a lot of fire in the matchup against LA with a breakout performance that saw him lead all scorers. Although clearly a skilled big, Baynes' performance in green so far this season has shown exactly how valuable a more traditional center can be on the roster. It seems like his ability to bang under the rim and provide cover for his teammates really helps other player's on the roster to perform, go figure. This however was one of those games where they leaned heavily on the man who has been described as 'All of Australia' and it shows in his stat line. Aron Baynes for Prime Minister!
Keith Smith: At some point the injuries will catch up and the Celtics will suffer because of it. Three opening night starters are now down. But tonight it didn't matter because the Celtics have embraced winning ugly.
Much like the last title team in 2008, this squad gets after it on defense from tip to buzzer. Also like that group, they have had just enough offense to win games. And, again like the 2008 team, you don't always know where the points will come from. Most nights it will be Kyrie Irving or Al Horford, much like it was usually Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. But on occasion, it will come from someone like Aron Baynes, like it did tonight.
Not saying this group will get a title, but not everyone thought that 2008 team would either. Too many new faces, not enough depth, injures. Those same questions came up with that title team too.
While remarkable in their similarities, one place they aren't so similar is in the overall makeup of the roster. That last banner winner had a three-year window that they stretched to five years. Because this team is so young, the window is only slightly ajar right now. Give it a year (or maybe even less!) and they might blow that thing wide open for for as long a stretch as we've seen in recent years.