Home > NBA > An Introduction of Sorts | Celtics Preseason Game #1

An Introduction of Sorts | Celtics Preseason Game #1

Hello sports fans. The gracious Goog has beckoned me to The Sporting Nerds in the hopes of providing some sort of Celtics coverage. While my schedule will prevent me from posting after every game, I’m embracing this as a personal challenge to follow the team as closely through a rebuilding year as I did in the past couple of surefire playoff seasons. While this is my first time to blog on the NBA, I have been covering my university’s basketball squad for a couple of years now at my primary blogging station. If you’re not yet following me on Twitter, you can do so here.


Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s take a look at the Celtics’ first preseason game. As one would expect, the rebuilt and retooled C’s lost to the Raptors in the Garden by a score of 97-89. With the roster in its current state, the Celtics have two clear deficiencies: Interior defense and ball distribution at the point. The first weakness was properly attacked by Toronto as Tyler Hansbrough, freshly shipped over from Indiana, came off the bench to the tune of 17 points, nine rebounds, and one block on 63% shooting. Amir Johnson equally split minutes with Hansbrough– it will be interesting to see if Hansbrough can supplant him as a starter. Either way, the Raptors’ roster is looking solid. If Lowry can stay healthy and DeRozan plays within himself this squad could surprise some people.


While the Celtics’ defensive play from their big men was disappointing, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk both turned in solid performances on offense. While neither started (Humphries, Bass, Green, Bradley, Lee were your first five) I think we will see first-year head coach Brad Stevens give the young duo increased minutes as the season progresses. These kids are the future and Stevens will be afforded the short-term job security to develop them. Sullinger proved his health concerns following offseason back surgery were overstated, as the burly forward tossed in 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists. While a domestic violence case will loom over his head this season, Sullinger should provide a strong presence in the paint again this season. Kelly Olynyk scored only four points but showed terrific basketball IQ and court vision. With five assists, Olynyk helped to spread the floor both in transition and in half court sets. I have been high on Olynyk since he emerged on the scene at Gonzaga and I think he’ll become a terrific NBA player. His varied skill set will give Brad Stevens plenty to work with and alleviate much of the offensive stress this squad must endure with Rajon Rondo out for several months. Just give the big man a few weeks in the NBA to get his feet wet.


Maybe moving the ball through the bigs is the only answer for this team, as the guard play was awfully disappointing tonight. Most of us are in agreement that Avery Bradley will never develop into a true NBA point guard and his performance tonight shows little progress through the offseason. In 32 minutes of play, Bradley shot 31% from the field, passed out just three assists, and totaled three turnovers. Unfortunately Phil Pressey was unavailable, as the undrafted rookie out of Missouri could have built upon an intriguing summer league performance. There’s really no telling how the point guard position shapes up in Boston but it’s tough to stay optimistic as Rondo continues to nurse his knee injury.


Stray thoughts:

  • Jeff Green had a rather pedestrian effort– six points off seven shots with just one rebound. Green has a great opportunity to make himself a household name this season but he’ll need to play with aggression and create scoring opportunities.
  • Maybe Gerald Wallace doesn’t suck? He played an efficient 26 minutes off the bench, totaling 16 points on ten shots from the field. Wallace didn’t turn the ball over but snagged an errant pass that lead to a fastbreak bucket for the C’s.
  • The Celtics committed only 14 turnovers. Ball security will be crucial for the C’s as they continue to mold their offensive identity. Each possession is an opportunity to learn strengths and weaknesses and build chemistry.
  • “He’s the kind of guy you want to punch in the mouth” – Tommy Heinsohn on Tyler Hansbrough. 
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