The Celtics wrapped on their preseason in Boston tonight, just a couple of miles from Fenway Park and the first game of the World Series. Surprisingly, there was a decent crowd at the game, and they were treated to a mostly entertaining affair against the Nets JV team. The Celtics held off the Nets and finished their preseason with a 101-97 win.
Let’s start with Vitor, who beasted all over the Sorta Nets. He finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Somehow, he only managed 1 assist, but I feel like he opened things up for guys out there. He, like most guys, will have work to do and some muscle tone wouldn’t be a bad thing either, but Vitor’s got a nice touch around the basket, he can hit from 3, and perhaps most impressively, he doesn’t seem nervous at all to be playing in the NBA. He’s just out there ballin’… something he’s done professionally since he was 14. Stevens likes him, and his start tonight is telling. Fav’s getting minutes.
Phil Pressey struggled a little in the 4th, but he completely changed the tenor of the game when he checked in. He started by hitting Brandon Bass with a gorgeous pass on the break, which just encouraged the team to run more. Yes, he got a little caught up in the moment and turned the ball over, but that’s only because he was feeling it after getting the team to move at his pace. Some of his numbers (4 points, 4 assists) seem misleading, but his +10 makes sense. He made an impact out there, and he’s got skills, for sure. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as Rondo’s primary backup by the All Star break, which will make the Jordan Crawford/Courtney Lee minutes distribution interesting (more on these 2 in The Grid)
Brandon Bass had a nice game. 16 points and 9 rebounds, and a block. I know we’re all gushing tonight about Vitor, but Bass just kept on doing good things.
Kelly Olynyk had some beautiful moves tonight. 9 points and 6 rebounds doesn’t do his game justice.
Gerald Wallace is quickly becoming my favorite player on this team. He’s doing a little bit of everything (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and he’s doing things like taking 4th quarter charges. He’s doing everything out there………. which means he’s also doing everything he can to prove to a contender that he still has it and he’s worth trading for, which makes me love the guy even more.
The first quarter was a bit of a mess, and the Celtics spent a lot of time overreacting on defense. There was a bunch of defensive confusion out there, and that persisted throughout the game.
I’m not going to bog you down with much more than that. The gross stuff from tonight is the same gross stuff we’ve seen all preseason. That stuff will take a while to get rid of.
Jordan Crawford with the sweet pass to Avery Bradley
That beautiful Pressey dime to Bass
Jordan Crawford: 1-8 fg (0-5 3pt), 6 reb, 1 ast, 4 pts
Courtney Lee: 3-7 (2-4 3pt), 4 ast, 2 stl, 9 pts
Avery Bradley: 5-13 (0-2 fg), 4 reb, 3 ast, 16 pts
Points in the paint: 44-30 Boston
Second chance points: 23-13 Boston
That’s the preseason, folks. Next stop, Toronto in a week, and the beginning of a tough season. There was much better effort tonight and that’s a very good sign. But they struggled to beat the Nets scraps, which is a bit of a reality check.
I don’t want to piss on any parades after a win, but we’re about to embark on a very tough month or so. November’s schedule is brutal, and as much as I like a bunch of the guys on this team, they’re not quite ready to handle this kind of thing yet. I do think they’ll get better as the season goes along, but it’s about to get tough.