BOSTON (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Celtics might not be defending a title this season, but they sure looked ready to defend just about everything else.
Using a commanding 31-4 run that spanned the second and third quarters, the Celtics drubbed the Bobcats, 92-59, in Boston's home opener, giving all those in attendance a taste of a proven championship defense.
And it didn't take long at all for the Celtics to assert their dominance. With Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett blocking shots early and often, it took nearly five minutes for Charlotte to score its first points of the season. By the end of the period the Bobcats had gone 3-for-15, posting 13 points and nine turnovers. Statements may often be overrated, but the Celtics made theirs early.
"To me we faced the best team in our conference," new Bobcats center Tyson Chandler said. "So a team that has a lot of things to work on, and a team that's already the best team in our conference, you get a lopsided game."
The outcome was not predetermined, however, as the Bobcats quietly cut the lead to three with 4:38 in the second, but another surge from Boston stopped the threat cold. Behind a 13-point quarter from Ray Allen, the Celtics closed the half on a 10-2 run, effectively ending the competition by the halftime buzzer.
"We had a chance to get the team on the ropes and step your foot down," Boston's Shelden Williams said.
And they did. The Bobcats wouldn't score again until the 5:52 mark of the third.
As a testament to team play, no one Boston player stood out above the others. Rajon Rondo had 11 assists, Allen had 18 points with four treys, Perkins and Garnett combined for seven blocks and Paul Pierce went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.
"I just feel with our team anybody can step up at any time," Perkins said. "I think our best played well."
Everyone took care of their responsibilities and yet, and good as the defense was, the offense, at least, left something to be desired.
"I wasn't happy in the first half, offensively," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The ball stuck. We lost a golden opportunity to get an early lead. I honestly thought, because of the way our defense was playing, that our offense didn't match it."
So, as has been customary since the Big Three came to town, the third quarter was a showcase for a fusion of lock-down defense and team offense. As the assists piled up (28 on the night), Pierce led the way with 10 of his 15 points in the period, everything stemming from the staunch D, which held the Bobcats to 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting.
"We just became who we are," Rivers said.
"They did all the things that, if you like this game, you value," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said.
Prior to the game, Rivers said that in Boston's help-based defensive system, it's not a player's fault if his own man scores, only if someone else does. That mindset was in full effect, as Bobcat point guards Raymond Felton -- who needed 15 stitches in his lower lip after diving for a loose ball in the second -- and D.J. Augustin had little room to operate on pick and rolls, encountering helping defenders behind every screen. The result was a paltry 10 assists from the entire team.
"Our team wasn't prepared, weren't ready to play," Brown said. "That's nobody's fault but the coach."
Despite what Brown said, the night didn't say much about the Bobcats as much as it spoke volumes about the home team. Because in holding the Bobcats to 23 points on 6-of-32 shooting in the first and third quarters combined, the Celtics showed that, once again, their defense is in a class of its own.