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Celtics Rout Sixers in Exhibition Opener

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This one wasn't close, but in a good way. The C's steamrolled the Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand-less Philadelphia 76ers, 93-65. 

  • Shaquille O'Neal started alongside Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett
  • All five starters played at least 15 minutes. They played the first six and a half minutes of the first quarter before the bench slowly staggered in. Delonte West and Glen Davis were first off the bench, followed by Nate Robinson, then Semih Erden, and finally, Marquis Daniels. These five served as the primary second unit tonight.
  • Semih Erden's going to steal a few headlines after posting 13 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in his NBA debut. He did play well, but it is the preseason and the Sixers were the opponent. Nonetheless, his play tonight was encouraging. He had a host of slick passes under the basket, he played physical underneath the rim, and scored when the opportunities presented themselves. 
  • A few moments of Erden's that caught my attention...With 9:16 left in the second quarter, Erden faked a screen for Daniels at the left elbow, dove to the hoop, took a pass from Daniels, drew a foul, and sank both free throws...With 6:56 left in the third quarter, Rondo was posting up Jrue Holiday when Erden cut to the rim, took Rondo's pass and laid in a soft jump hook that I'm sure Tommy Heinsohn appreciated. 
  • Kevin Garnett's resurgence was a hot topic these past few weeks, and although he missed all four of his field goal attempts he looked fine, physically. There didn't appear to be any hesitancy on his part, he was moving well laterally, and he appeared to be running without any type of trouble. Attitude-wise, he was definitely the KG of old. After rejecting Trent Plaisted (who?) with 4:08 left in the first quarter, he got right back under him with that maniacal look on his face, clapping his hands aggressively. Later, during the fourth quarter, while the reserves were out there, he served as the head cheerleader, yelling and clapping for everyone, particularly Stephane Lasme. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but after Garnett blocked Plaisted, the ball found its way to Spencer Hawes underneath and Garnett rotated over. Hawes threw up an upfake, which fooled KG, but man, he got up when he went to try and block that shot. That was the most encouraging sign for me, personally. 
Other Player Reactions
  • Rajon Rondo: Great ball pressure tonight while piling up seven assists. 
  • Ray Allen: The stroke looks as good as ever. He finished with 14 points on six of nine shooting (2-3 from three-point nation).
  • Delonte West: His numbers weren't staggering by any means (2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists), but his play was solid, with just one turnover. It was great seeing him back in green and white.
  • Shaquille O'Neal: Shaq ran the floor well and seemed to mesh with his fellow starters, posting eight points on 4-5 shooting. 
  • Stephane Lasme: He stole the show late in the fourth quarter, posting 12 points in seven minutes. Again, it was garbage time in a preseason game against the Sixers, but hustle is hustle. The C's have hung on to him for this long, so they clearly want an extended look at him. If he is eventually let go, he could sign a contract with the Maine Red Claws if they offer it. 
  • Luke Harangody and Von Wafer: Not too much out of either of these guys tonight. Wafer didn't attempt a shot in 12 minutes, while Harangody missed five of his six attempts, but did pull down three rebounds. Given the C's play again tomorrow night, I wouldn't be shocked to see a few of the starters sit out, meaning there could be extra minutes for these two. 
Overall, it was a solid start to the preseason. We can't make too many judgments just yet, but we definitely saw some nice things from certain players, and the defense came as advertised. We should be seeing more of Harangody, Mario West, Wafer, and Lasme as the preseason rolls on. The Celtics will be back in action tomorrow night at 7:00pm against the New Jersey Nets.