Game Thread l Chat
The Celtics face their second preseason foe tonight as they take on the New York Knicks at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. Phil Pressey was the only player aside from the 4 camp invites not to play in the opener. Pressey should see extended minutes tonight as Coach Stevens continues to evaluate his players and see out combinations that work best together.
The Celtics defense left much to be desired in the first game as they allowed the Raptors to shoot 52%. Stevens vowed to work on defense in yesterday's practice and Kris Humphries detailed what they need to do to improve.
"Basically it’s help-and-recover," he said. "If a guy leaves the basket to help a guard, someone has to drop down and take his spot. I think some of that stuff is more of getting in a flow defensively, the same way you talk about, well, our flow offensively. There’s that same concept on defense."
In the preseason, it's impossible to predict starters and rotations and it will particularly be difficult with the Celtics team. The players, coach and system are all new and so there will be even more evaluation going on with this team than usual. Bradley, Lee, Green, Bass and Humphries started Monday's game and they could start again, or there could be a completely different starting 5 tonight. Stevens cautioned not to read too much into his lineups as he evaluates players and combinations in these preseason games.
One combination that seemed to work well was Sully, KO and Crash. Hopefully we will see that combination again tonight. Along with defense, the Celtics must improve their rebounding. They won't win many games if they allow the other team 20 more rebounds per game. Expect Humphries, Olynyk and Sully all to take up that challenge and go to the boards harder.
Celtics RosterChris Babb
Rajon Rondo (ACL) out
Jordan Crawford (death in family) out
MarShon Brooks (head) questionable
Player to Watch
Phil Pressey logged a DNP in the Celtics first game vs the Raptors but Coach Stevens said that he will see extended playing time in this game. He was the last player on the court after practice on Tuesday preparing for it.
Honorable Mention: Kris Humphries. Kris wasn't happy with his rebounding after Monday's game and so it will be interesting to see if he goes a bit harder to the boards.
Knicks RosterCole Aldridge
Tim Hardaway Jr
Metta World Peace
Knicks Probable Starters
Iman Shumpert (shoulder) questionable
JR Smith (Knee) questionable
Amare Stoudemire (knees) out
Player to Watch
Tyson Chandler will be key for the Knicks because of the Celtics lack of size inside. Will the Celtics counter Chandler's size with more Fav, or will they throw Humpries or Sully inside to see how they fare against him?
Honorable Mention: Metta World Peace After being amnestied by the Lakers, the player formerly known as Ron Artest will get another chance with the Knicks. I'm almost looking forward to seeing what happens to a team with both Artest and JR Smith on it.
Matchup to Watch
Phil Pressey vs Raymond FeltonPhil Pressey's first NBA action won't be easy. He will be faced with veteran point guards Raymond Felton, Beno Udrih, and Pablo Prigioni.
Interesting Stories to Watch
MarShon Brooks' return to Providence where he was a college star
Phil Pressey getting his first NBA minutes
Can Sully have another strong game?
Will Jeff Green find his aggressiveness
Will the rebounding improve?
Keys for the CelticsOnce again, Brad Stevens will be experimenting with lineups and watching for combinations that work the best. Players will need to work together to try to build chemistry as they become more familiar with each other.After Monday's game, the coach mentioned that they would need to work on defense and positioning. The Celtics need to defend better and they need to work on being in the right spot for the rotations. That will come in time as they learn the system and each other better.
Play hard and execute. Have fun. Get better.