Celtics Fall to the Raptors 97-89 in Preseason Opener

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

New-look Celtics can't get win.

Celtics Top Performers

- Gerald Wallace: 16 points (6/10 FG), 2 rebounds, 4 assists

- Jared Sullinger: 14 points (5/9 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists

- Avery Bradley: 12 points (5/16 FG), 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 steals

Raptors Top Performers

- Tyler Hansbrough: 17 points (5/8 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 blocks

- Rudy Gay: 17 points (7/11 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist

- Jonas Valanciunas: 10 points (5/7 FG), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks

Key Game Notes:

- Celtics out-rebounded 46-26

- Celtics team shooting splits: .398/.292/.842

- Raptors team shooting splits: .521/.182/.808

Recap:

The Celtics fell to the Raptors to the tune of a 97-89 final score on Monday night, getting the Brad Stevens era started off on the wrong foot.

No matter, though, because the preseason is never about wins and losses anyways. Instead, it's about finding out what does and does not work. Whether it be mixing and matching lineups or simply just trying out different guys at positions they may not be completely used to, these games provide an organization with the opportunity to see their squad in competitive situations.

As is true with any game, there were plenty of positive and negative takeaways as far as the Celtics overall performance is concerned, but there was one of each that stood out more than the others.

First of all, the lineup may have underwent massive change during the offseason but one thing definitely remained the same: poor team rebounding. The Cs were out-rebounded 46-26 tonight and, to be honest, we shouldn't be shocked by the enormous differential. Given the lack of size this team has down low, it's hard to believe that Stevens' group will get the best of many teams on the boards in 2013-14.

However, the Celtics were able to take very good care of the ball throughout the game, finishing with a 25:14 assist-to-turnover ratio as a unit. Sure, that stat could be a lot better but, nevertheless, it was impressive since Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford were the two sharing the point guard duties this evening. Bradley and Crawford will only become better ball handlers as time goes on and Rajon Rondo's return somewhere down the line certainly won't hurt either.

Ultimately, the Celtics looked okay after getting off to an extremely slow start in the first quarter. They refused to go away all night long and if a few plays go the other way in their favor they win this game.

The Celtics are slated to take on the New York Knicks this Wednesday and it will be interesting to see what they improved on after game one of the preseason.


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