Nonetheless, basketball is back and I am fired up.
Get ready for some halftime hot takes, buddy.
Boston’s defense is a five-man straightjacket
The opening of this game was a nightmare. Both sides looked absolutely lost offensively, but New York’s struggles seemed to be less-related to nerves than Boston’s did. Defense was always going to be a key part of this team’s success. The starting backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White is enough to keep opposing guards up at night. Not to mention the length and strength of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kristaps Porzingis down low.
So far, the Celtics have looked connected on the defensive end. They’ve been able to make things very difficult for the Knicks, deflecting passes and forcing them into tough shot after tough shot.
C’s pull out one of their new defensive wrinkles out of timeout pic.twitter.com/9P05tdAo34— Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning) October 25, 2023
The Celtic defense thrived down low, rejecting six shots so far, and making plenty more uncomfortable for their opponents.
The Celtics are NOT afraid to fire up threes
Now, this isn’t one that comes as a surprise, but my goodness, the Celtics have the ultimate green light from deep. They fired up 22 first-half attempts from beyond the arc against the Knicks and saw eight of those find the bottom of the net.
Jayson Tatum is taking his MVP campaign seriously
The top man for the Celtics has looked like just that so far. Tatum got off to a blistering start in this one, pouring in 10 quick first-quarter points. Just about everything that he threw up found the bottom of the net and he looked like a man possessed.
Jayson Tatum is crazy pic.twitter.com/TLSVJiqalQ— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 25, 2023
He carried that dominance over to the second quarter, adding another nine points to bring his first-half total to 19. Boston’s No. 0 did it all: threes, mid-ranges, layups, and even a super-cool dunk. This was just about as good of a start to the season that fans could’ve asked for from the 25-year-old.
Tatum’s name has been plastered all over the MVP conversation leading up to this season. He finished fourth in the voting race last year and entered the new campaign with the fifth-best odds to capture the trophy at +750, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
After the series of moves made by Brad Stevens over the summer, the Cs are in prime position to finish amongst the league’s best, setting Tatum up to become the first Celtic to win the award since Larry Bird.
Kristaps Porzingis is a DAWG
Alright so, we all already kind of knew how great Porzingis was by watching him ball out in the preseason. However, watching him light up his former team was something special. The big Latvian was met with a chorus of boos when he was introduced pre-game and he took it personally.
IT'S THE PORZINGIS SHOW pic.twitter.com/5g2TAysNJP— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 25, 2023
He was on fire early, scoring 15 points early on, knocking down five of his eight attempts from the field. It wasn’t just offense either, the Unicorn was a key aspect of the aforementioned defense, sending back a trio of shots.
The most important part of this is the wrinkle of it being a big game (opening night) and one that’s being played in a hostile environment. This is just about as close as you can get to a playoff-type feel in October and the man has thrived in it.
That has to be a great sign, right???
Let us know what your biggest hot take from the first half is below in the replies!