First, I want to let everyone know that I’m away for the week. My posts will be more infrequent because of that. I appreciate your patience as the Celtics head into their final preseason games. The season begins on October 27th for the Celtics in Cleveland against the division rival Cavaliers.
On Sunday, the Boston team continued to work together as they prepare for the real thing. They have now racked up 5 straight wins as they slot in their two new acquisitions, Rasheed Wallace, and Marquis Daniels, and Doc Rivers appraises what the rest of the roster can offer this season.
Of course, the main thing going forward is to get the starting five back in a comfort zone and a game rhythm. They are entering their third straight year as a unit and that shouldn’t take too long. All five starters have shown flashes of their capabilities at different points in the preseason.
Kevin Garnett took game honors with 21 points on 8 of 14 shooting in 28 minutes. Ray Allen started 4-4 and finished with 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting, going 2 of 6 from beyond the three point arc. Kendrick Perkins led the Celtics with 7 rebounds in 16 minutes and added 6 points and a block.
Rajon Rondo led with 6 assists, and contributed 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Paul Pierce had a quiet game with just 2 points on 4 shots in 25 plus minutes.
Eddie House did what he does best, scoring in bunches, as he added 13 points in 18 minutes, third best on the team, while going 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Rasheed Wallace played after sitting out a game with a sore ankle. He scored 5 points in 24 minutes with 3 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal, and 5 turnovers.
Marquis Daniels produced 8 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and a steal in 19 plus minutes. Glen Davis added 9 points, including 7 of 7 from the line, and had 3 rebounds.
Early in preseason, Doc Rivers had said that they were working with just a few sets on offense, and that Ray Allen and Paul Pierce weren’t really having any plays put in just for them. That has been the case throughout the preseason.
According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, Doc will start to work things in for them shortly. He will also go hard and long with the starting five in the next-to-last preseason game, and then go with reserves in the last preseason game.
Expect to see longer runs by the starters today in Toronto and tomorrow in New York. But those hoping for a preview of the season opener in Cleveland on Oct. 28 will have to wait. Rivers said yesterday he will likely play his reserves the entire preseason game on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, against the Cavaliers.
So, in what could be viewed a common strategy move, Rivers will take the steam out of a preseason rematch of Eastern Division titans. The Celtics play the Cavs two straight times but only the second one counts (season opener). Doc will play mostly reserves in that last preseason game, before unleashing the starters against the team that led the league in regular season wins with 66 last year.
Yahoo Sports added this from Kevin Garnett…
“I wish it (the season) started a little earlier,” Garnett said. “The more preseason games you play, the more incidents, accidents, all of the above can happen. Five or six, this is where we need to be.”
So the Celtics seem ready to go for the new season. They play the Knicks on Tuesday before finishing at Cleveland on Wednesday night.
I’ll check in from time to time this week and then be back to a regular writing schedule next Monday.