The Boston Celtics lost tonight to the Miami Heat, 120-107 in South Beach for the NBA season opener. A few positives can be taken away from the game and one of them was the play of recently signed guard Leandro Barbosa. He gave the team great minutes and contributed 16 points off the bench, going 3-3 from three point range.
He was the main backup for Rajon Rondo, but played exclusively at the end of the game with a unit that included Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, among others. It wasn’t even a certainty that Barbosa would play tonight as he was signed only last week. He had a limited amount of time to grasp some of the playbook and head coach Doc Rivers is as demanding as they come when it comes to the knowledge of his offensive and defensive systems.
This is an extremely encouraging development if you are a Celtics fan. A team that was already the deepest in the league became even deeper tonight with the play of Barbosa. I am not yet ready to give him the keys to the city, but it will be a nice story if he can provide the team consistent scoring off the bench.
Barbosa played about 16 minutes tonight and I think before it is all said and done he should play roughly 20 minutes a game as the season moves on.
The storyline will be when Avery Bradley returns from a shoulder injury sometime in December. The Celtics will have a guard rotation of Rondo, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Barbosa, and Bradley. I dare you to find me a team that deep in their back court.
Rivers has to be pleased with Barbosa’s play tonight and it will be interesting to see how he develops as the season progresses.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18