Here is Steve Bulpett's tongue firmly planted in cheek take on last night's game.
I think this was perfect. I think Stevens has the game plan down cold. He is, as advertised, one smart dude. What you saw from the Celtics last night is what you need from the Celtics this season. Oh, they will get better as the year moves along, but this was a fairly strong greenprint. The Celts played hard. They played together. They got some encouraging performances out of the young guys. They were competitive. And they lost. Perfect.
This is going to be a recurring storyline, so if this kind of stuff makes you queezy you'll need to grab a bottle of Maalox and hunker down for a long year. If you are a hard line "moral victories are still just losses" kind of person, then I have bad news for you. I know that some folks feel like every day that we don't win a Championship is a frustration. (I've heard that this is common for Yankee fans) For those people all I can say is... welp.
On the flipside, if you love watching basketball and appreciate the journey as much as the destination, I have great news for you. This is legitimately going to be a fun team to watch grow and develop. There will be times when the ball is zipping around the court, backdoor cuts open up picturesque passes and layups or dunks, and everything just falls into place.
We'll see Sullinger gobbling up offensive rebounds and putback buckets. We'll enjoy Kelly Olynyk's underrated passing. We'll watch Jeff Green knifing through the lane for a big two handed dunk. We'll get giddy when we see Vitor Faverani get a block and skip an outlet pass down the court to start a fast break. We'll laugh when Avery Bradley frustrates an opposing point guard so much that he whines to the refs. We got a little bit of all that last night.
The problem is, we also got several long stretches where nothing really worked. Leads vanished, momentum evaporated, and offensive flow ground to a halt. The Toronto Raptors were just too talented for the Celtics last night. Allow that thought to marinate for a moment (and then go find something to cleanse your mental pallet).
So at the risk of extrapolating too much from one preseason game, I do think what you saw last night was a good taste of what we'll see a lot this year. Spirited play, signs of growth, some fun moments, and ultimately a loss in the record books but a moral victory in our hearts.