The Celtics officially played their first game today against the Toronto Raptors. With Paul Pierce and Sasha Pavlovic not making the trip, it opened up more minutes for the younger guys to prove themselves.

Doc Rivers rolled out a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Marquis Daniels, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O'Neal.

The Celtics starting off slow offensively, turning the ball over and missing their first few shots. Defensively the Celtics actually looked pretty good. Jermaine O'Neal particularly looked good with a great block, a charge, and a pretty explosive dunk in the games' opening quarter.

A peak at the Celtics rotation, Keyon Dooling and Brandon Bass are first off the bench to replace Rondo and KG. Chris Wilcox replaced Jermaine O'Neal a minute later at the first timeout.

At the four minute mark the Celtics had what could be their bench on the court. Dooling, Bradley, Daniels, Bass, and Wilcox. The two new big men looked particularly comfortable playing with each other.

Most likely due to a lack of forwards, E'Twaun Moore enters the game for a three guard lineup. Dooling, Bradley, and Moore actually do i nice job defensively and provide a lot of ball handling... usually I'd dismiss this as just preseason silliness, but with Green out for the year you could see a few three guard lineups when possible.

End of 1st Quarter, Celtics up 18-17.

At the start of the 2nd Boston stays with a three guard lineup, only this time with Rondo, Bradley, Moore, Garnett, and Wilcox. Defensively Rondo is picking up the forward, Moore playing the ball. Rondo draws two crafty fouls before Bass checks in at center alongside KG. Rondo immediately steals the ball but throws it away trying to connect with Bass... they'll have to work on that.

After a Rondo behind the back pass to Brandon Bass for a fast break dunk the Raptors call a timeout. Out of that timeout Marquis Daniels takes over with a quick turnaround in the paint, a pull up off the pick and roll, then he drew a foul on the fast break. Marquis Daniels definitely looks like he still belongs in The NBA.

The Celtics closed out the 2nd quarter with their patented stingy defense to pull away from Toronto. Celtics lead 40-33.

In the 3rd quarter Boston took advantage of Kevin Garnett vs Bargnani and rode the Big Ticket. Rondo was truly shining in this game, just orchestrating the offense perfectly. Bass once again mishandles a Rondo pass in transition but instead Rajon throws a laser to Marquis under the basket. The chemistry between Rajon and Bass is something that must click if the Celtics want to come out of the gates hot.

Chris Wilcox, Brandon Bass, and Marquis Daniels are already looking like good off-season pickups by Danny Ainge. Non of them are All-Stars or every were, but sometimes the best role players are the guys who have played as role players. The Bass/Wilcox duo is even holding their own in the paint, while The Raptors certainly aren't the 2010 Lakers, they certainly offer some challenges when it comes to pick and roll defense.

Boston stretches the lead to 61-51 going in the 4th Quarter.

In the 4th Quarter the Celtics started to get down to the bottom of the bench. Gilbert Brown, the undrafted rookie out of Pitt, checks into a lineup of Dooling, Bradley, Brown, Garnett, and Wilcox. Gilbert shows that he's not quite up to speed with the NBA game but also flashes some defense and athleticism that earn him a roster spot.

At the 7:00 mark Jajuan Johnson see's his first minutes. The rookie makes a nice block on Bargnani.

Doc then takes out all the veterans and let's the youngsters feel what it's like to play in a close NBA game. With a one point game the lineup was Moore, Bradley, Brown, Johnson, and Stiemsma.

Bradley shows off his exceptional on ball defense but is ulimately called for a chippy foul (could have easily been a jump ball). So, after two straight crap calls against Johnson and Bradley the youngsters find themselves up one with 2:09 to go.

Calderon hits the free throws to make it 71-70, Raptors

E'Twaun Moore makes a nice isolation. 72-71, Celtics.

Offensive three seconds. Turnover against Raptors.

E'Twaun Moore jumpshot. 74-73, Celtics.

Bargnani corner jumper. 73-72, Raptors.

Jajuan Johnson missed jumper.

The young Celtics play great defense against the Calderon/Bargnani pick and roll. The ball is sent to Amir Johnson at the free throw line against Stiemsma, Johnson misses but the ball is eventually tipped up and in. 74-73, Raptors.

Avery Bradley inbounds to E'Twaun Moore who goes right and uses the pick, puts up a floater on the baseline but misses. Stiemsma comes up with the offensive rebound and puts in up and in. 75-74, Celtics.

Demar DeRozan drives from the left and puts up a contested jumper, miss. Bargnani puts back up the rebound but it rims out.

Celtics win.

Player of the game is Marquis Daniels with 11 Points, 5-7 FG, 3 ast, 2 reb. Risen from the dead.

...and in the post-game Donny Marshall calls Greg Stiemsma the Great White Hype.

Jesse Dampolo 12/18/2011 03:37:00 PM Edit
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8 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I feel like JJ is not feeling it yet...hopefully he catches on fast

  2. He didn't get in the game until the 4th quarter. Everybody else go a chance to play alongside starters.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stiemsma 3 offensive boards in 4 min and the game winner. Not too shabby

  4. Jenda says:

    jesse is right. I didn't see the game but the decission not to give Johnson more playing time surprised me.

  5. celticgreen says:

    Stiemsma was impressive, great defensive and offensive rebounding ability, used his size well, Celtics all around are more powerful than i thought, just wait until they gel, get comfortable and 100% chemistry is formed, Banner 18 is coming, we're winning this for you Jeff Green

  6. I think they will keep Stiemsma in the line up since his size and length were definitely useful for the Celtics, and I can already see him becoming a fan favorite at the garden like Scalabrine. Chants of "Big White" echoing from the stands whenever he checks in!!
    I think they'll also probably keep Gilbert Brown on the final roster, now that Jeff Green is out. He's got good size and athletic ability to be a decent SF/ SG backup, and I was actually surprised how early Doc checked him into the game in the 4th and left him in despite him missing some nice drives to the lane. I think as he gets used to the offense and gets more comfortable with the nba game he could be a valuable rookie. He played solid defense too, so that was definitely an assest at the SF spot.
    I was at the game today, as I live next door to the Air Canada Centre, and what I found pretty interesting and funny was how the arena was pretty packed like a reg season game, and the intensity of the fans during the close fourth quarter. I think they thought it was a playoff game, not preseason! It was also funny to see just how serious the Raptors took this game, like it was a must win playoff game. During timeouts in the 4th, all the Raptors were up and huddled, drawing up plays and yelling like it was the last minute of game 7 of the finals. Meanwhile you look at the Celtics bench and everyone is chillin, grabbing water, joking around, with KG and the vets teasing the rookies and slapping them on the back. Much different attitudes to this PRESEASON GAME.

    Even after the Celtics put in all their rookies/ new players for nearly all of the 4th quarter, the Raptors went with their full blown starting lineup for the entire late game stretch!!! So really our rookie squad was playing against the Raptors starters and were holding their own, and eventually BEAT THEM! Haha, good job rookies, way to prove that our rookie crew could start in Toronto! They made me very proud.

  7. Stiemsma- 2009/10 NBDL Defensive Player Of The Year.

    Johnson- 2010/11 Big 10 Defensive Player Of The Year

    Avery Bradley- Voted by his fellow 2010 draftees as the best defensive player of all the picks.

  8. DH says:

    Great recap Jesse!

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