Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Celtics lose their first game of the preseason, but there's a lot to be excited about. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger both finished with 16 points off the bench and Jason Terry added 12.
4th quarter report
- "The Knack": that could be Sullinger's new nickname. He may not be ready to be a go-to post player, but he's great catching the ball in traffic and finishing near the rim. He could be a great complementary piece to playmakers like Rondo, Terry, and Pierce.
- Surrounded by rookies, Green proved to be a reliable scorer. Scal compares him to a silky James Worthy. It's accurate, but I hate the comparison to a Laker. He scored five buckets in a row with that hard drive to the right side and the soft release at the rim.
- Melo had a monster block, but I'd still rather see him play D with his feet rather than his length.
I know it's the preseason and the first game of the preseason and Fenerbahce Ulker is supposed to be one of Europe's best teams, but I hate losing this game. Even with only a week of training camp, championship contenders shouldn't lose exhibition games like this. Twenty-five turnovers is brutal. Giving a jump-shooting team 24 free throws and letting them shoot 46.2% from the field is unacceptable. Maybe losing to a team like this will help in the long run. Sure, it's an overreaction, but I'm sure Rondo and KG aren't taking it that way so I'm not going to take it that way.
But with all that said--WOW--there's a lot to be happy about.
Rondo is a different player (again). I was worried that after a summer of touring France and Southeast Asia, interning at GQ, hosting a 1-on-1 tournament on Alcatraz, and hosting flag football games at UCLA, he didn't put in enough time on his game. I was wrong. With all the added speed and athleticism to the roster, he seemed to make a more concerted effort to push the ball and force the issue. He was confident in his jump shot and made all his free throws. He'll still be that playmaker and play caller for the team, but I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in his scoring.
Jeff Green played very, very well. He owned the fourth quarter. Sure, he was burning a guy who had no business guarding him in the first place, but it was still great to see JG with an explosive first step and not afraid of contact. He seemed spry and nimble and way ahead of the curve. He called himself 90% ready in the pre-game, but the way he was moving today, the season could start tomorrow and he'd be ready.
Jared Sullinger continues to perform above expectations. Maybe it's because I'm a Michigan man, but I didn't think the Ohio State product would be able to translate his below-the-rim game to the NBA, but Scalabrine's right; Sullinger just has a way of tracking down a rebound and finishing at the rim. Another OSU alum, John Havlicek, was known for constantly moving around the perimeter and wearing down his opponent. Sullinger does that in the paint. He's always thinking two steps ahead and rooting around for position as the ball moves around the court.