Celtics (Preseason) basketball has made its return! Avery Bradley harassed ball handlers, Jeff Green dunked, fans chanted “Let’s go Celtics!,” Tommy Heinsohn yelled at referees and the Boston Celtics got beat badly on the boards. Just like old times! All jokes aside, the Celtics lost 97-89 to the Toronto Raptors in their preseason debut. But like Stevens has stated so many times before, it’s about the process and truth be told, it wasn’t that bad.
-The Faverani, Stevens, Olynyk, whatever age of Celtics basketball you want to call it started off woefully. The Celtics fell behind the Raptors 10-2 at one point and every Celtic fan is thinking worst case scenario. None of the starters looked particularly comfortable on the floor but Kris Humphries stood out early with an offensive rebound, a charge taken and he actually boxed out. No seriously!
-While it took him a bit longer than I had hoped, Stevens made substitutions in effort to get the Celtics back into the game. Enter Jared Sullinger, Gerald Wallace and The Prodigal Son Kelly Olynyk. That front court trio immediately energized the Celtics back into the game. Basic but intelligent passes by Olynyk, the defensive focus and the hustle of Wallace and Sullinger’s craftiness around the basket with his soft hands threw the Raptors off their defensive game. Stevens mentioned that he’d be looking at combinations and how to substitute players in; I thought the switch from the Green-Bass-Humphries trio to the Wallace-Sullinger-Olynyk trio was brilliant and forced Toronto to adjust their defensive strategies.
-The second half was much of the same but Sullinger and Wallace really stood out to me. Sullinger got into it with Tyler Hansbrough in the third quarter and turned into, what I like to call #AngrySully. Immediately after his incident with Hansbrough, Smokey the Swag Bear was gone, Sullinger’s face turned into a frown and he began EATING (Not literally) THE GLASS. Offensive rebound and putback for an And-1, a beautiful pass to Bradley from the three point line and just an angry but focused play from Sully in the second half.
Things To Note:
-Jordan Crawford played exceptionally well in my honest opinion, he was under control throughout the entire game and made some really good basketball plays.
-MarShon Brooks only recorded two minutes in the entire game and Phil Pressey received a DNP-CD. Stevens stated that those two will see more minutes in the second preseason game vs the New York Knicks.
-The Olynyk-Sullinger combination seems to be as fun to watch as we anticipated it to be. Both forwards are extremely intelligent passers and seem to have a unique feel for when to pass to each other and to their Celtic teammates.
-Jeff Green was quiet today, not many plays were run for him but he could’ve looked to score more than he did. Green finished 2 of 7.
It’s preseason and we really shouldn’t look too much into the numbers aspect yet, seeing how players are playing with each other, how Stevens makes adjustments during the game and the defensive/offensive philosophies are what we should be looking for.