It took the Boston Celtics more than a week to get their first win of the 2013-2014 NBA season, not to mention playing against the team which might be the worst in the league in the Utah Jazz. Brad Stevens has his first win as a head coach, but it’s hard to think of any one player, including point leaders Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, that generates hope for a better than mostly awful season.
The 97-87 came despite falling behind by 13 points early on, only to be rescued by a bench trio that included Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Wallace and Jared Sullinger. Stevens is going to be making a lot of changes all season long as the Celtics try to find out who is worth keeping in this rebuilding process, although with some players, like Kris Humphries and his awful contract, it’s quite clear they would like to get rid of if only there was a taker.
The same goes for Wallace, who wasn’t very happy about getting benched, yet sounded completely different after the win, making it seem like the revelation of coming off the bench can be something that stops the incredibly steep drop in his career over the last few years.
You can see Stevens tampering, hoping some magic is sparked from all the changes. Vitor Faverani was a surprising starter, but disappeared from the game after only six minutes, missing all four of his field goal attempts. Olynyk didn’t mind coming off the bench, adding 14 points and 8 rebounds. Wallace scored 9 and grabbed 9 as well coming off the bench, while Jeff Green with 18 points and Brandon Bass led the team in scoring.
Brad Stevens had a chance to coach against a former player of his at Butler, Gordon Hayward. Hayward finished with a game-high 28 points, but whenever the Jazz have to bench Enes Kanter bad things happen, and they’re simply a very bad team compared to what Tyrone Corbin had to work with in previous seasons, knowingly going into a tanking and rebuild season while lowering costs by letting go Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
People talk about the Celtics crowd being faithful and passionate, but the end of a 289-game sellout streak that began the day Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen made their debut for the team shows that even the most famous of sports fans aren’t that faithful when they know they have a bad product to follow.
Phil Pressey might need to get more minutes at the expense of Jordan Crawford, who didn’t do too well in the starting five. Pressey scored his first points in the NBA after not getting a second in the previous three games, and as Stevens continues his round of experiments in lineup and playing time, giving more to the undrafted rookie might help them shape up a starting five he can be happy with, at least until Rajon Rondo gets back and all the shuffling begins once more. Avery Bradley can be just as effective without having to be the ball handler.