The Boston Celtics were defeated by the New York Knicks 103-102 in exhibition play at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The Celtics weren't able to win the game despite an unbelievable comeback in the fourth quarter, but it sure made for an exciting night of basketball.
Avery Bradley started at point guard and led the starters with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, in addition to 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers. Small forward Gerald Wallace started over Jeff Green and had 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Vitor Faverani was the star of first half, totaling 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal in 20 minutes. The Celtics only trailed by one at half, but due to a lack of familiarity on offense and defense, they were outscored 34-to-21 in the third quarter. Interestingly enough, rebounding wasn't much of a problem for Boston, since they grabbed 36 rebounds to the Knicks' 34. With the game well out of hand, training camp invites Chris Babb and DeShawn Sims got time in the fourth quarter. But it wasn't over yet. Phil Pressey's energy and Babb's four three-pointers fueled a Celtics' comeback, as they led a 37-to-22 run in the fourth quarter. However, rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a baseline jumper to give the Knicks a 103-102 lead and the victory. For the game, Hardaway had 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Iman Shumpert also came off the bench and played 25 minutes, shooting 7-of-7 for 18 points.
Pressey helps rally a comeback
Missouri point guard Phil Pressey made his first appearance with the Boston Celtics tonight, playing in 28 minutes, tallying 13 points, 7 assists, and no turnovers. Pressey had a hard time getting the C's into offensive sets when he first entered the game, but he quickly turned things around and played an overall efficient game. Pressey appears to have very good rhythm and timing, showing a solid understanding of the offense. When he got extended minutes in the second half, he took advantage, aiding the Celtics in their exciting fourth quarter surge. With a few clutch steals and passes, Pressey showed what type of player he can be when it matters most. Even though the Celtics lost the game, the rookie Phil Pressey has officially entered into the competition to be the team's backup point guard.
It's easy to fall in love with Vitor
If you watched the game tonight, you most likely began to fall in love with Vitor Faverani, right along with every other Celtics fan. The 6'11" Brazilian center had an unbelievable first half, showcasing his versatility on the court. On multiple occasions Faverani hustled and beat the defense up the floor, putting himself in position for two loud dunks. And surprise, surprise, he has a three-point shot that actually has pretty good form. Faverani is on his way to becoming the revelation of the preseason if he continues this play.
The C's played fairly robotic at times
At multiple points during the game I couldn't help but think that the Celtics were playing very robotic. Various offensive plays were run slowly, which ran the shot clock down, and created difficult shots near the end of the possession. However, the C's seemed to expand on the amount of plays run since Monday's game, showing some progress. Stevens has said that he wants the Celtics to speed things up -- much like his teams at Butler did -- so it will take time before things are truly seamless and natural, instead of clunky and robotic.
This kids have heart
What happened in the fourth quarter was special to watch. Sure, it's the preseason; sure, the game means nothing. But basketball is basketball, and the guys that were on the court for most of the period were fighting for a job in the NBA. A lineup with all young players outscored the Knicks 37-to-24, much to the pleasure of Brad Stevens. Chris Babb showed perfect form from three, shooting 4-of-5. DeShawn Sims played hard on both ends, scoring four points in only 6 minutes. And of course, Phil Pressey led the charge with 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in the fourth.
The Boston Celtics will hold a practice tomorrow at noon as they prepare for another exhibition game on Friday at 7 PM. They will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers at Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Delaware, at 7 P.M.