The Celtics have a week of preseason games under their belt, and have four more ahead of them over the next ten days. On Monday mornings here at Celtics 101, we will bring you The Starting Five, a quick glance at the Boston Celtics and how they presently stand.
1) The week in review
The Celtics played four games last week, going 1-3. They found some things to work on (rim protection and rebounding), generated some (preseason) excitement with a great fourth quarter against the Knicks, erasing a 23 point deficit (is that what inspired the Red Sox and Patriots on Sunday?), and they also discovered a few bright spots.
2) The week ahead
On Tuesday the Celtics will head Brooklyn to take on the Brooklyn Nets. This game will no doubt feel a little strange. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have played about 12 minutes per game in Brooklyn's first two games. It's likely that they will play on Tuesday night, marking the first time we will see Paul Pierce on the floor with the Celtics while not wearing the green and white.
The Celtics will also play the Raptors on Wednesday and then the Timberwolves on Sunday evening.
3) Some pleasant surprises
Gerald Wallace has played very well for the Celtics in the first four games of preseason. He is shooting the ball well, hitting three pointers, hustling, and bringing some veteran fire to this team. It's clear he is enjoying the up tempo pace of the game, something he was not allowed to do in Brooklyn.
Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley are both making a case for big minutes this season. Both are shooting over 50% on three pointers, and Bradley will need to continue this type of shooting to score keep defenses honest on the perimeter. Which is vital for this team's success.
4) The Rookie Project
It's been so far so good for Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, and Vitor Faverani. All three seem like they have a roster spot carved out at this point.
Faverani has brought energy and seems to feed off the crowd. He runs the floor hard and gets out in transition whenever possible. He has also shown the ability to step out and hit some deep jumpers, including three pointers.
Pressey is handing out assists at an impressive rate and making his share of shots too. In 22 minutes he's averaging 4.8 assists and also shooting 63% from the field. His three point shooting and turnovers will need to improve, but it's been a good start for the quick point guard.
Olynyk, the best of this bunch, has been steady. He's scoring 9 PPG in 21 minutes of action. His passing ability has been impressive, and once he gets used to the pace of the game his turnovers (2.50) should go down.
5) Below the Rim Basketball
Jared Sullinger, even with all the off-court distraction, has been very solid in the first four games. He is rebounding well, playing good defense, and scoring a ton of points around the rim. His size and stature make him the ultimate below the rim player. He's sneaky and smart in the post, scores with both hands, but does it all without any real explosiveness. He's like that guy in pick-up that every wants to guard at the start, until he starts dominating and no one has any idea how he is doing it.
The Sixth Man: Heading out on the road
This week will send the Celtics on the road for the first time, it will be interesting to see how they handle playing against some old friends in Brooklyn and then how they play in Canada and Minnesota after that.
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- Highs and Lows from Boston Celtics Preseason Opener
- Gerald Wallace Will Need to Continue His Momentum Throughout the Preseason
- Boston Celtics Play First Preseason Game on Monday Against the Toronto Raptors
- Jeff Green’s Shooting Slump in Preseason Means He Needs to Start Filling the Box Score
- Boston Celtics Training Camp Countdown – 12 Questions: Who Should Be on the Court at Crunch Time?
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