Finally I have a few reflections from Saturday's game. The main one is what I mentioned yesterday - that it is much too early to draw any serious conclusions regarding how this team will play. But the Rome game does bring up several questions that need to be monitored throughout October. First, the pace thing. People are all over the map with this; Glenn himself has professed an uncertainty as to what the pace should be, indicating that the Triumvirate will dictate that. In his comments after the game he said that he would like Rondo to push it more than he did, implying that there is more of a need for transition points.
The pace element warrants continued monitoring as these early games go on. Glenn has never in his reign as C's coach been able to actually impose a pace upon the team. I see no reason as to why he will be able to now. Rondo is an excellent transition player, and one can make the case that Allen is as well. I don't know if I can say that for KG, and I know that the transition game is not Pierce's forte. It would be one thing if all the Triumvirate were 'run and gun' types, but that is hardly the case here, and therefore the fast break basketball we are likely to see is going to be opportunistic, but not overtly aggressive. The issue, then, will be whether the starting five can continually be opportunistic, or whether they will be too prone to let the halfcourt game develop and avoid transition when it is a good option.
Pierce has persistently showed habits of avoiding transition the past few years, and with good reason, as he is a much more dominant halfcourt player. But in this setting he hopefully will be willing to run more. The key will be the C's willingness to consistently look to get the ball up the floor, but not to be unruly with it. I am not worried that they will be sloppy, however I am concerned that they will not push the tempo nearly as much as they could.
A fundamental advantage of being quick down the court is to set up easy shots before the defense can match up appropriately. We can already see how devastating this can be with KG, Pierce and Allen all on the floor at once. There is simply too much firepower to contain when a defense is not properly set up. Conversely, if the D can slow down the Celtics and create a halfcourt game, a potential flaw is revealed.
As big as KG is, and he is huge, he is no center. Because of his relatively lithe frame, Garnett is never going to be the deep post player that a Duncan or Yao can be. KG is going to habitually skirt inside, but to expect most of his offensive game to flow within five feet of the hoop is unreasonable. And KG is really the C's only inside offensive threat, barring a Big Baby explosion, or Pierce really going inside alot.
If KG can be pushed slightly outside of his comfort zone inside, and the C's stay stationary in the halfcourt, then they suddenly become a perimeter oriented team. This is undoubtedly what other teams want the Celtics to be. They want to play good defense and have the C's settle for jumpers. This is how to beat them. So these are the things I'm thinking about, and there were no easy answers given Saturday, and there probably will not be on Wednesday either. But it is interesting to see these hypotheticals actually play out on the court.