I expected that both Boston and Miami would play as hard as they did tonight…opening night…and they did not disappoint. Man oh man, what a game! With this just being their first of 82 games, these two championship minded teams picked up where they left off playing as if this was just another post-season game. The game was relatively close throughout the first half, so I expected the Celtics would make one of their vintage runs in the second half. And indeed they did, but not until the fourth quarter. And guess who led the charge? Not the Big Three, but Leandro Barbosa.
Barbosa scored all of his 16 points during the Celtic’s push in the fourth quarter. I knew Leandro would be a great pick up for the Celtics, missing all of the pre-season as a late pick-up, he is already making his presence felt. See I’ve been a fan of Leandro Barbosa and his uptempo run and shoot style since watching him during his 7 year run with the Phoenix Suns. He came on the scene back in 2003 young, quick and full of energy off the bench for Phoenix. It wasn’t till three years later in 2006 that he would really make his mark. That year he averaged 17.3 ppg for the Suns, making him a real asset to the team and a real threat to his opponents. And a threat he still is. Although the Celtics came up short in tonight’s season opener, I believe we are seeing a glimpse of what is to come. I know that Leandro Barbosa is no Ray Allen, but I’m sure glad he is wearing a Celtic uniform.
Other highlights tonight, four of the five starters scored in double figures. Garnett pulled down 12 rebs, while Bass had 11 rebs. With team scoring and strong defensive efforts each game by Docs top 8 or 9 guys and as long as Boston can stay healthy, they are indeed the team Miami has to beat in the East in order to get to the NBA Finals again.
Rehema “The Edutainer” Stephens