They may have lost on the scoresheet, but the Celtics’ starters showed promise in their limited time on the court together in Tuesday’s preseason opener with Philadelphia.
Being a student at UMass, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to catch Al Horford and Jaylen Brown rocking Celtic green for the first time. The very opening play of the game (Avery Bradley slip pass to Horford for the mid-range bucket after the pick and pop) was the perfect indicator of how the Boston starting five was going to perform for the next six minutes or so.
Swift ball movement, Horford running transition offense after a rebound, and Jae Crowder getting hot from deep (which hasn't really happened since his injury late last season) had me salivating at what 2016-17 will bring. Anyone who watched the opening minutes could tell that the early 25-9 lead for the Celtics was largely due to the unselfish passing. It came as no surprise that the starters got the approval from Coach Stevens for their efforts:
Brad Stevens on opening up with a 25-9 run: "We looked really good in that first 6-7 minutes. I thought everything had a purpose."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 5, 2016
Okay, so maybe playing a weak Sixers unit with no Ben Simmons or Jahlil Okafor helps, but you cannot deny how impressive the starters looked together. And the thing is, the starting five is almost exactly the same as last year. That is telling of the impact Al Horford will have on his teammates (it already looked like Horford has been playing with these guys for years) and the continued development and chemistry amongst Isaiah Thomas, Bradley, Crowder, and Amir Johnson.
Horford commented on the fluid ball movement on offense with his new team:
"When you move the ball like that, you become a dangerous team," Al Horford says of tonight's first-quarter offense.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 5, 2016
He reiterated this during his postgame interviews:
Al Horford says good ball movement was key to fast start Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/38sMRgIW05— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) October 5, 2016
Even though it was only six minutes against one of the worst teams in the league, the play of the starters was encouraging. Can they continue to click in their next preseason outing against the Hornets?
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Photo by NBA.com Erik Johnson 10/06/2016 04:41:00 PM Tweet Edit