The New Guys Shine In Preseason Bout With Raptors.
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.
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.