Boston Celtics

Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

At least the Revs won.

The rest of Boston sports got shut out as the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics all went down in defeat Wednesday night. The basketball game was by far the most entertaining take, as the Green went to double overtime against the Knicks before a rabid Madison Square Garden crowd.

The Celtics weren’t at full strength, with key offseason acquisitions Al Horford and Josh Richardson missing the contest.

But a loss is a loss, and here’s what we can take away from opening night:

  • Jaylen Brown Is OK

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) and forward Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) and forward Julius Randle (30) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    After testing positive for COVID-19 and reportedly experiencing breathing issues during a 10-day quarantine, the emerging star attended just one practice before taking the floor for the opener. But Brown ripped off 20 points in the opening stanza and was huge in the fourth quarter and overtime en route to a career-high 46 points.

    While head coach Ime Udoka focused on limiting Brown’s court time early, he eventually needed the fifth-year wing to log 46 minutes of work. The wear showed as Brown missed a dunk late. But it was a hell of a performance – particularly considering the circumstances.

    It was not a banner night for Jayson Tatum. He hoisted 30 shots, missing 23 of them, including 13 three-pointers. Can we get both of these guys cooking on the same night?

  • Big Debut For 'Time Lord'

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) wins the opening tip off against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) wins the opening tip off against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    We shouldn’t expect Robert Williams to play 45 minutes with regularity, but he absolutely delivered with 16 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, three steals and three assists. The big man shared some of his court time with Grant Williams, who also impressed with 15 points, knocking down three triples.

    Notably, Udoka did not play new arrivals Enes Kanter, Juancho Hernangomez or Bruno Fernando. The Knicks may not be instructive of future matchups, as they don’t have an interior scoring threat, but the C’s were definitely bullied in the second half with the smaller Williams as the lone “big” on the floor.

    It will be interesting to see how the big man rotation evolves, particularly once Horford returns.

  • Meet the new boss...

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka coaches against the New York Knicks during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka coaches against the New York Knicks during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    This year’s model looked a lot like last year’s at times, particularly as the Boston lead evaporated and the Celtics had to land a barrage of threes just to hang around. After plenty of lip service about the transition game in the preseason, Udoka’s offense was reduced to long jump shots in the third quarter while the Knicks took over.

    New York played with intensity, turning defensive stops into fast breaks that allowed a marginal offensive player like Obi Toppin to energize the MSG crowd. Meanwhile, the Celtics temporarily abandoned the ball movement that powered them to 34 assists for the game.

    Maybe Horford’s outlet passing will get the team running.

    Udoka deserves time to prove himself as a tactician on both sides of the ball. But in the second half, the Boston offense was full of empty calories.

  • Guarded optimism

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) controls the ball against Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schroder (71) during the first overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) controls the ball against Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schroder (71) during the first overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Neither Marcus Smart nor freshly minted Celtic Dennis Schroder covered themselves in glory with their shooting (a combined 10-for-30). But when he was on the floor, Schröder was the unquestioned court general, dishing out eight assists in 32 minutes.

    Smart was no slouch with six dimes, but he played off the ball when sharing the court with Schröder or Payton Pritchard. Smart did maintain a connection with Robert Williams, finding the big man for thunderous slams as he has throughout his career.

    The shot attempts were a bit high, and might normalize when the Udoka has a full complement of players. But between Schröder’s piercing drives and Smart’s penchant for knocking down big threes, we saw some of the things that could make the point guard spot a potential difference maker for Boston.

  • Post-Hype Prospects

    May 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Aaron Nesmith (26) shields the ball Boston Celtics New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    May 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Aaron Nesmith (26) shields the ball Boston Celtics New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    Romeo Langford continued his hot shooting, following up on a toasty preseason from beyond the arc with an efficient 2-of-3 performance on opening night, totaling 10 points for the contest. It’s still unclear if he or fellow young wing Aaron Nesmith can create their own shot with any regularity. But in a complementary role, Langford is showing promise as a 3-and-D weapon.

    If he or Nesmith (or both) clicks this season, it gives the Celtics lineup flexibility, injury insurance, and bench depth they didn’t consistently have last year.

    The Celtics look tog et into the win column against the Raptors Friday night at 7:30 on our sister station, 105.7 WROR.