The Celtics ended their preseason tonight with an 88-79 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers got the sweep, winning both games against the Celtics this preseason. However, if I were them, I wouldn't be counting the Celtics out yet.
The Celtics gave Jason Terry and Darko the night off tonight. Leandro Barbosa was also a spectator as he is still waiting on his visa paperwork to be completed. The Celtics started yet another different lineup in this game with Rondo, Pierce, Green, Bass and KG. This big lineup played well and finished the first quarter up 1 at 22-21.
Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo (9) drives on Philadelphia 76ers' Jason
Richardson (23) during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball
game in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. The 76ers won 88-79. (AP
Without Green and Terry on the court, the second unit struggled to score at times. The Celtics got 29 points off the bench, which is much better than last season. But, the Sixers bench pitched in with 56 points. Jared Sullinger returned to the bench after starting the last couple of games and finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block. Courtney Lee also came off the bench to add 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Kris Joseph made an appearance at the end of the first quarter and finished with 5 points and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes. Micah Downs added 3 points while Rob Kurz grabbed 1 rebound. I expect the final spot on the team to go to Kris Joseph as he clearly has more potential and outplayed both Kurz and Downs.
The Celtics were down 10 at the half but with the starters back on the court to start the third, they scored the first 8 points and tied the game at 53 after a 12-2 run to start the quarter. The Sixers led by 3 going into the 4th quarter. Doc once again finished the game with the odd lineup of Sully, Joseph, Melo, Kurz and Downs. I have to say, I'm glad we won't have to watch that lineup on the court ever again this season.
Boston Celtics' Jeff Green (8), center, and Philadelphia 76ers Spencer
Hawes (00), right, vie for control of the ball during the first quarter
of an NBA preseason basketball game at the TD Garden, in Boston, Sunday,
Oct. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The game was sloppy all the way around. Once again the Celtics turned the ball over too much and finished with 20 turnovers. They have to find a way to cut that down in the regular season. As sharp as they were on offense in the win against the Nets, they were equally as bad in this game. They shot just 42% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc. The Sixers weren't much better, shooting 41% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc. The Celtics did win one stat in that they out-rebounded the Sixers 38-37.
Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green both finished with double doubles. Rondo had 12 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds while Jeff finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds 4 blocks and 2 steals. Brandon Bass added 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks and garnered the Tommy Award for his gritty performance in spite of a sore knee. Pierce struggled with his shot, finishing with just 8 points on 3-12 shooting to go with 1 rebound, 3 assists,and 5 turnovers. KG also struggled on offense shooting just 2-7 for 8 points to go with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Philadelphia 76ers' Lavoy Allen (50), left, tries to get around Boston
Celtics' Kevin Garnett (5), right, in the first quarter of an NBA
preseason basketball game at the TD Garden, in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 21,
2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The refs in this game were in rare form. At one point, Spencer Hawes put Jared Sullinger in a choke hold and threw him to the ground and it was just a regular foul. They missed several very obvious calls on both teams and hopefully they are just in preseason form and like the teams, will be better in the regular season. I don't think I'd bet any money on it, however. As you could guess, Tommy was also in rare form, calling the refs out on all of their missed calls.
Now, the real work begins as Doc will have 7 days to get the team ready for the season opener against the Heat. They need to work on reducing turnovers, tightening up the pick and roll defense, and just getting the roles and rotations set. Something tells me the team we see come out on opening night is going to look a whole lot different than the one we saw for most of this preseason.