The Celtics absolutely smoked the Bobcats in the season opener at Boston's TD Garden. The final score was 92-59, which doesn't really do the beatdown justice. There were flickers of life throughout the first half, but in the third quarter, the Celtics manhandled the Cats, outscoring them 25-10 and pulling away for good.
Parsing the box score, there isn't much to be happy about; the game brought to life every fear the pessimists had for Charlotte before the season. They had near-zero offensive presence on the inside, which had a cascade effect. Gerald Wallace and others couldn't slash because defenders could help more readily, and the shooters, already a mediocre bunch (even more so without Raja Bell or Ronald Murray), couldn't shoot because there was no worry about anyone trying to score from inside ten feet.
Highlights (maybe) and Lowlights after the jump:
-- Wallace had 10 points and 12 rebounds, by default the best performance of the night. Emphasis on "by default".
-- Nazr Mohammed very nearly earned that honor with 5 points and 8(!) rebounds in only 18 minutes. Seriously, he's probably the team's biggest inside threat on offense. That hurt to type.
-- Derrick Brown certainly looks like he belongs. Obviously, this is small sample size theater, but so be it.
-- It's fair to say Alexis Ajinca has two intriguing NBA skills: backdoor alley-oops and a nearly unblockable eighteen foot fadeaway jumper. Even his most ardent haters have to admit that his greatest shortcoming last season was his complete lack of basketball IQ even close to an NBA level.
-- The Cats outrebounded the Celtics,
-- 59 points.
-- Tyson Chandler: 0 points, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 21 minutes. Ouch.
-- D.J. Augustin, Raymond Felton, and Stephen Graham combined: 5-27 from the field.
-- 59 points. If this is any indication, let's hope for a lot of 83-78 victories.