Seems like forever since we had a game day, but it really hasn't been all that long. At least not as long as other seasons. We had a fairly short off season but the anticipation of a season as reigning champs for the first time in 22 years made it seem longer. But it is finally here... the first game of the preseason.
Boston Celtics (0,0) vs Philadelphia 76ers (0,0) Wednesday, October 8 Mullins Center, UMass Amhurst, Massachusetts 7:00 PM ET TV: CSN, NBA-TV Radio: WEEI
This is the first game for both teams. Both teams are expected to rest their starters while getting a look at the young players who are new or on the bubble of making the team or being cut. Both teams have added new players through the draft and free agency. The Celtics have added 4 new players: JR Giddens and Bill Walker through the draft and Patrick O'Bryant and Darius Miles through free agency. The Celtics will have at least one cut needed to get the team down to the maximum of 15 players before the season. The Sixers have added 6 new players through the draft and free agency: Elton Brand, Royal Ivey, Donyell Marshall, Teho Ratliff and Kareem Rush through free agency and Marreese Speights through the draft. They also have several training camp invitees hoping to catch someone's eye and gain a roster spot. The Sixers will have to make 5 cuts before the season.
Probable Starting Matchups Probable Starting Matchups PG Rajon Rondo vs Andre Miller SG Ray Allen vs Andre Iguodala SF Paul Pierce vs Thaddeus Young PF Kevin Garnett vs Elton Brand C Patrick O'Bryant vs Samuel Dalembert
Celtics Bench Tony Allen Glen Davis JR Giddens Eddie House Darius Miles Leon Powe Gabe Pruitt Brian Scalabrine Bill Walker Sam Cassell
Injured Kendrick Perkins
Sixers Bench Reggie Evans Herbert Hill Royal Ivey Donyell Marshall Theo Ratliff Kareem Rush Marreese Speights Louis Williams Thaddeus Young Maureece Rice Antywane Robinson Andre Emmett Jared Reiner Cory Underwood
Injured Jason Smith
Players to Watch: Celtics
Bill Waker Darius Miles Patrick O'Bryant Gabe Pruitt
Doc has said that he won't play his starters big minutes in the preseason and we can expect to see a lot of the young guys and new guys. Walker, Miles, and O'Bryant have all been praised for their work in camp and so this will be their chance to show they belong in the rotation and for O'Bryant to show that he isn't the bust that the Warriors have made him out to be. Walker is fighting for a spot in the rotation and Miles is fighting for a spot on the team. They all have something to prove. Gabe Pruitt has been mentioned as the odd man out after the Cassell signing and so he is also fighting for a spot on the team.
Sixers Elton Brand Andre Iguodala Theo Ratliff Thaddeus Young
With Elton Brand being new to the team and to Mo Cheeks' system, he may see more time on the floor than most veterans do in the preseason. The Sixers need to see how he fits with the team and the system. Iguodala got a big payday this summer and will be looking to prove that he can earn it. Also, the Sixers are experimenting with moving Iguodala to the 2 guard and Thaddeus Young to the starting small forward. It will be a change for both players and the Sixers will be monitoring how both players handle the move. It will be interesting to see if Ratliff is still functional. The over/under for his next injury is 2 games.
We can't take much from a preseason game as coaches try to limit starters minutes and play their benches while looking at players to see who will stick and who will be cut. Coaches are also looking for combinations to see who works well with whom. Expect Doc to give a long look at Darius Miles, Patrick O'Bryant, Gabe Pruitt, JR Giddens and Bill Walker to see what they can give the team. We will probably also see a lot of Tony Allen as Doc tries to give him some confidence in the preseason since he will be called on for a bigger role this season. The Sixers are trying to build chemistry with their new players and new lineup along with watching the many invitees to see which players earn their spot. It will be interesting to watch the first few minutes when both teams will have their starters on the floor to see how they match up.
I am sooooooooo ready for this! Anyone else excited?