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Celtics host Sixers in a clash of rebulding teams

The wait is over! It's finally Game Day!!!

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
Monday, October 6, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Preseason Game #1
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub
TD Garden
Referees: Michael Smith, Kane Fitzgerald, Dedric Taylor

Game Day is finally here. The Celtics face off against another rebuilding team, the Philadelphia 76ers, at the TD Garden in their first preseason game. While the league may not be all that excited about the Celtics this season, judging by their lack of national TV appearances, they have seen fit to put this game on NBA-TV tonight.

The first game of the season is a tough one to predict. There are battles for just about every position and it's anyone's guess who will start the first game. Brad Stevens has already said that, if healthy enough, Marcus Smart will get the start at the point. If his groin injury prevents him from getting the start, then expect Evan Turner to be next in line. Phil Pressey should be coming off the bench.
The Celtics are very versatile in that most of the players can play 2 or even 3 positions. Since the preseason is all about experimenting, especially early, it's hard to know who will start, or even who will play, in the first game. I've posted my best guess on the starting lineups below.

The Sixers have tanking written all over them so it's even tougher to predict who they will start or play. It's interesting to see that they have 3 former Celtics on their team: Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson and Jarvis Varnado. Chris Johnson can play and I hope he does well there and makes the team. It will be interesting to see if Bogans gets any playing time. If he does, it may be a sure sign that the Sixers have given up on the season already.

One interesting side story in tonight's game is that it will be Nerlens Noel's first NBA game. Noel is the Sixers top pick from last season, the 6th overall, but he missed all of last season due to a knee injury. Noel is from nearby Everett, Massachusetts and, with friends and family there to watch, this should be a special game for him.

The Celtics injury list is already getting a bit long. Jeff Green is questionable with a calf injury that he suffered in Friday's scrimmage. Marcus Smart missed Sunday's practice with a groin injury but Coach Stevens lists him somewhere between questionable and probable. Brandon Bass suffered a scratched cornea in the scrimmage and is day to day while Vitor Faverani will be out with swelling in his surgically repaired knee. And, of course, Rajon Rondo is out with the hand injury. Let's hope they are getting the injury bug out of the way now and will be healthy when the season starts.

Possible Starters

Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Gerald Wallace, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk
This is just a wild guess. Smart should start if healthy, but if not, expect Turner to get the start at the point. I think the middle three spots should be set for now, but by the end of camp, who knows. And I originally thought Zeller would start at center, but Stevens said that he may try out Olynyk at the 5 and that experiment may begin here. Jeff Green has been ruled out of tonight's game and so I'm going to guess that Gerald Wallace gets the start in his place. It may very well be James Young, though. Or, since it's preseason, maybe even Kelly Olynyk.

Point Guards

Phil Pressey, Marcus Smart, Rajon Rondo, Evan Turner
Shooting Guards

Avery Bradley, Marcus Thornton, Rodney McGruder, Tim Frazier

Small Forwards

Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, James Young, Evan Turner

Power Forwards

Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass, Erik Murphy, Dwight Powell, Christian Watford


Tyler Zeller, Vitor Faverani, Joel Anthony, Kelly Olynyk

Rajon Rondo (hand) out
Jeff Green (calf) out
Marcus Smart (groin) game time decision
Brandon Bass (cornea) game time decision
Vitor Faverani (knee) out

Possible Starters

Tony Wroten, Elliot Williams, Hollis Thompson, Arnett Moultrie, Henry Sims

Point Guards

Michael Carter Williams, Tony Wroten, Casper Ware

Shooting Guards
Elliot Williams, Alexy Shved, Keith Bogans

Small Forwards

Hollis Thompson, Chris Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jerami Grant, Jakarr Sampson, Ronald Roberts, Jason Richardson

Power Forwards

Arnett Moultrie, Brandon Davies, Nerlens Noel


Henry Sims, Jarvis Varnado, Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid (back) out
Jason Richardson (knee) doubtful
Michael Carter Williams (shoulder) day to day
Jerami Grant (ankle) day to day
Alexi Shved (back) day to day
Jarvis Varnado (Achilles) day to day

Keys to the Game
Run and Defend
Brad Stevens has stressed the fact that he wants the Celtics to run more this season and hopefully we will see that in this game. He also said that he wants the team to play tougher defense and I'd love to see the team follow through with that.
No Injuries
The Celtics have already been dealing with several injuries and so they need to avoid getting any more in this game.
Find the Best Combinations
The preseason is all about experimentation and so Coach Stevens will be looking for which players play best with each other. We may see some strange combinations out there in order to get the rotation right by opening night.

Official Report
Michael Smith - Michael Smith has 21 seasons as an NBA referee. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Smith on the court while the Sixers are 3-7 in their last 10.

Kane Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald has 5 seasons experience as an NBA ref. The Celtics are 1-9 in their last 10 games with Fitzgerald while the Sixers are 5-5 in their last 10

Dedric Taylor - Last season was Taylor's first in the NBA and he served as a non-staff official. The Celtics are 0-1 over Taylor's career while the Sixers are 3-1 over games he has officiated in his career.

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