It was exciting to hear Mike and Tommy again and get back to Celtics basketball. I liked what I saw in the first preseason game in spite of the Celtics' 98-92 loss. The starters played just under 9 minutes in the first half and around 17 for the game. The Big Three looked very sharp and looked like they were picking up right where they left off in June. They looked to be in incredible shape and had their timing and chemistry right
Patrick O'Bryant started at center and was impressive in his first game as a Celtic. He finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots in just under 25 minutes. He had one great play in the first half where he fired a bullet pass from the top of the key to Darius Miles inside for a layup. He was the Player of the Game as chosen by Mike and Tommy. Rondo looks even better than last year and had 4 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals. He had an impressive steal in the third quarter and sped up court and found a trailing Tony Allen for a layup.
Speaking of Tony, he looked really good as well. He played without the cumbersome brace that seemed to limit his mobility last season and had just a sleeve over his knee. He had several big plays in the game and seems to have his explosiveness back again. He finished with 11 points 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Leon Powe and Big Baby were very aggressive in their first game. Powe had 12 points and 2 rebounds while Big Baby had 6 points and 3 rebounds.
Another player who impressed was Bill Walker. He had 2 monster dunks in the first half, the second one had every Celtic player off the bench cheering. He is going to help the Celtics this season. He is aggressive and showed poise and some very good hustle. He finished with 8 points and 2 rebounds and the play of the game with his monster dunk. I like this kid. Darius Miles had some moments as well with a couple of dunks and some nice defense.
JR Giddens played only 4 minutes but he had a rebound, an assist and a steal. He also showed some nice defense. Gabe Pruitt showed some nice defense as well and looked confident running the point. He finished with 2 points 3 rebounds and 1 assist. Eddie House showed why he was the back up point guard in the finals as he finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds 2 assists and a steal. He has one of the quickest releases in the league and is good for instant offense off the bench.
The one player who seems to be the odd man out and doesn't seem to have a role on this team is Scal. He was 0-4 from the field and didn't score. He passed up a few open shots as well. He did have 3 rebounds and 1 assist but also 4 turnovers. I know that there is little to no chance that it will be Scal who is cut or traded, but of everyone on the team, I think he is expendable. My second choice would be to move Sam Cassell to coach this season and not next. Sam I Am and Doc Rivers were not with the team due to personal reasons. Tom Thibodeau took over the head coaching job.
Both teams were sloppy with the ball as the Sixers turned the ball over 21 times and the Celtics turned it over a whopping 26 times. That is one area the Celtics will definitely have to address. The Celtics out rebounded the Sixers 38-34 and shot 48% to 45% for the Sixers, but the turnovers really hurt them. In spite of the loss, I liked what I saw from the young guys tonight. I liked what I saw from the starters. Of the new players, Patrick O'Bryant and Bill Walker were especially impressive. Tony Allen's play was very encouraging as he seems to be finally getting back to pre-injury form. Next game is Friday against the Cavaliers.