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Celtics Face Sixers to Start Preseason


Boston Celtics (0,0) vs Philadelphia 76ers (0,0)
Wednesday, October 8
Mullins Center, UMass
Amhurst, Massachusetts
7:00 PM ET
Radio:  WEEI
Game Thread   /   Celtics Chat   

Sixers Blogs:     Passion and Pride   /  Recliner GM    

Tonight, the Celtics open the preseason against the team who is expected to be their chief rival for the Atlantic Division crown.  Like the Celtics, the Sixers will spend more time looking at new players and players on the bubble than they will playing their starters.  But, the first few minutes of the game when both starting lineups will be on the floor will be very telling to see how they match up.   
Celtics come into the preseason with 16 players  while the Sixers have 20 on their training camp roster.  They have added Elton Brand, Royal Ivey, Donyell Marshall, Theo Ratliff, Kareem Rush, and Marreese Speights to a team that was already rising.  The Celtics are basically the same team as last year with the exception of the loss of James Posey and the additions of free agents Darius Miles and Patrick O'Bryant and rookies Bill Walker and JR Giddens.  All 4 of the Celtics additions are low risk and high reward but also unknown quantities at this point. 
 We can't take much from a preseason game as coaches try to limit starters minutes and play their benches while looking at players to see who will stick and who will be cut. Coaches are also looking for combinations of players that work together so we can expect to see a lot of different lineups.   Doc will give a long look at Darius Miles, Patrick O'Bryant,  Gabe Pruitt, JR Giddens and Bill Walker to see what they can give the team.   We will probably also see a lot of Tony Allen as Doc tries to give him some confidence in the preseason since he will be called on for a bigger role this season.  The Sixers are trying to build chemistry with their new players and new lineup along with watching the many invitees to see which players earn their spot.  
Probable Starting Matchups
PG    Rajon Rondo vs Andre Miller
SG    Ray Allen vs Andre Iguodala
SF    Paul Pierce vs  Thaddeus Young 
PF    Kevin Garnett vs Elton Brand
C      Patrick O'Bryant  vs Samuel Dalembert
Celtics Bench
Tony Allen
Glen Davis
JR Giddens
Eddie House
Darius Miles
Leon Powe
Gabe Pruitt
Brian Scalabrine
Bill Walker
Sam Cassell
Out for the Game
Kendrick Perkins (shoulder)
Sam Cassell (personal)
Sixers Bench
Reggie Evans
Herbert Hill
Royal Ivey
Donyell Marshall
Theo Ratliff
Kareem Rush
Marreese Speights
Louis Williams
Thaddeus Young
Maureece Rice
Antywane Robinson
Andre Emmett
Jared Reiner
Cory Underwood
Out for the Game
Jason Smith (knee)
Players to Watch:
Bill Walker            Darius Miles          Patrick O'Bryant            Gabe Pruitt
Bill Waker           Darius Miles      Patrick O'Bryant        Gabe Pruitt
Doc has said that he won't play his starters big minutes in the preseason and we can expect to see a lot of the young guys and new guys.  Walker, Miles, and O'Bryant have all been praised for their work in camp and so this will be their chance to show they belong in the rotation and for O'Bryant to show that he isn't the bust that the Warriors have made him out to be.   Walker is fighting for a spot in the rotation and Miles is fighting for a spot on the team.  While Miles played mostly at power forward during camp,  Doc plans to move him to the small forward spot for the game and so it may be hard to evaluate his progress while he gets used to a new position on the fly.    Gabe Pruitt has been mentioned as the odd man out after the Cassell signing and so he is also fighting for a spot on the team. 
  Elton Brand          Andre Iguodala             Theo Ratliff          Thaddeus Young
Elton Brand          Andre Iguodala         Theo Ratliff       Thaddeus Young
With Elton Brand being new to the team and to Mo Cheeks' system, he may see more time on the floor than most veterans do in the preseason but reports out of Philly say that he will not see big minutes in the preseason.    The Sixers need to see how he fits with the team and the system.  Iguodala got a big payday this summer and will be looking to prove that he can earn it.  Also, the Sixers are experimenting with moving Iguodala to the 2 guard and Thaddeus Young to the starting small forward.  It will be a change for both players and the Sixers will be monitoring how both players handle the move.    It will be interesting to see if Ratliff is still functional.  The over/under for his next injury is 2 games. 
While not much can be taken from an early preseason game and we won't see much of either team's starters,  it is exciting to have basketball back again.  We also finally get a look at the new players and see how they are progressing.   Are you ready for some baskeball???

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