[caption id="attachment_15051" align="aligncenter" width="627"] Photo Credit: Kein Chua[/caption] I recently had the chance to experience an NBA Game as a member of the media at the Boston Celtics homegame against the Charlotte Bobcats and here is my recap of the event..
Pre-gameI made my way to the security entrance on to the right level, and got my first Celtics-celebrity sighting - Molly McGrath was at a corner rehearsing her opening speech. I didn't want to seem too much of a stalker, so my first question was a polite question about where I should be heading to. She helpfully pointed out where the media room was and that got me on my way. It was quite unnerving, trying to eat while Tommy and Mike sat at the next table, leisurely having theirs. And then Danny strolled in and started discussing draft prospects while Globe legend Bob Ryan was sitting by himself at another table - unreal. After that came the pregame interview. Doc Rivers appeared, and everyone was ready and waiting. KG's absence was a surprise to everyone, but Doc talked about "putting our five best" from the team against Charlotte, which meant the insertion of Jeff Green in the starting lineup. He also commented on how the Bobcats "beat us in every way last time", which included poor defense on off-the-dribble movement and rebounding. I managed to make my way to the assigned press table after some weaving to and back, sat down with a reporter from Ecuador named Bolivar from The Daily Hoy, and it was show time.
First-HalfThe first quarter started out with two solid jumpers from Brandon Bass while Avery Bradley had a tough mismatch with Gerald Henderson on defense. The team held together well enough on defense, especially on the rebounding end - 11 rebounds, 8 defensive. Careless turnovers (5) however caused the lead to be closer than it should have been, and the team did not space as well on offense without Paul Pierce. Second quarter saw Jason "JET" Terry making things happen from defensive rebounding, to shooting the three, to making the right pass. We saw Crawford trying to be more of a passer in today's game, with a no-look pass to DJ White that resulted in an and one finish. Shavlik Randolph came in, missed two bunnies at the rim and redeemed himself right after. He nabbed the offensive board and drew contact on the resulting finish, but missed the FT. There was a careless push from Pierce passing up court that got picked off by Walker, and ended in a three point swish. The Bobcats were obviously capitalising on the lack of size the C's had especially with KG out, and the presence of DJ/Shavlik made up for it somewhat in the rebounding department. Green gave a much-needed finish at the rim, Lee gave a highlight reel-worthy block on Kemba Walker, and that was half-time.
Second-HalfThe third quarter saw a big surge as the starters made a push and scored 27 points. Along with JET's back-to-back three pointers, it made for a dominating 33-23 frame, and none of that "turd" quarter stuff we always screamed about. The final twelve minutes featured a grind between the Bobcats starters and the C's bench. Bass and Lee were inserted in the final minutes to inject some offense into a sputtering bench unit that were not getting stops or making baskets due to a variety of reasons. Crawford was still trying to facilitate baskets, but just could not get it going. TWill was spreading the ball well, but could not get his offense going. Randolph over-helped on defense in one possession, and gave McRoberts an open dunk. Thankfully, the guys put it together long enough to get the win sealed and done without Pierce or Bradley checking back in.
Post-game conferenceThe post-game conference room turned out to be smaller than I'd imagined it to be, so everyone was either seated comfortably, or squashed along the side of the room. I was stuffed somewhere near the door, with just enough room for the door to be closed without me being part of it. After a while, Doc took the stand and talked about doing well in three areas: transition, dribble penetration, rebounding. He wasn't very convinced on the game pace however.
"I thought we gave up on ten to fifteen breaks that I thought we had, and we gave up on. We just went into the walk-it-up or middle pace and I just said, just push it up every single time and see. If we can't get nothing there then we got time to run it. And we scored a ton."He wouldn't give up anything on KG though, leaving it up in the air for now. Let us hope the Big Ticket shows up on Monday (or Tuesday).