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Celtics close out preseason with a visit from the Sixers

The Celtics close out the preseason the same way they will open the regular season, by hosting the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers (2-4) at Celtics (5-1)
Friday, October 23, 2015
7:30 PM ET
CSNNE, NBA LP 751(Xfinity)/750(DTV)
Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH

The Celtics close out the preseason the same way they will open the regular season, by hosting the Philadelphia 76ers.  The Celtics are coming off a big win over the Knicks on Thursday night while the Sixers haven't played since a one point loss to the Nets last Sunday.  Last season, the Celtics loved back to back games and were very good on the second night.  Hopefully that will carry over to this season.

The last game of the preseason is even tougher to predict the lineups than any other.  Some of the veterans will more than likely rest.  The younger guys may get more playing time to give them more experience and to evaluate them further.  The coaches may play their regular season lineups, but with the Sixers being the same team they will face on opening night, the coach may not want to tip his hat as to what his lineups may be.  So, as always,  the possible starters are just a guess. 

The Sixers have quite a few players injured or out for this game and they don't have the depth that the Celtics do.  The Celtics rested Kelly Olynyk in last night's game and Jared Sullinger picked up the slack and played well.   Avery Bradley injured his shin in last night's game and is questionable for this game, which would shake up the rotation a bit more. 

Brad Stevens has said that all players are available to play tonight including Isaiah Thomas (knee) and Avery Bradley (shin).  Avery will not play much beyond the first quarter while Isaiah should get extended playing time due to missing the last game.  Celtics will start the same lineup they did in the last game but they will probably sit out most of the second half. 

Possible Starters
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: David Lee
C: Tyler Zeller

Probable Reserves
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
Jared Sullinger
Perry Jones III
Jordan Mickey
Kelly Olynyk
Terry Rozier
Corey Watson
James Young
Amir Johnson

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Isaiah Thomas (knee)  available
Avery Bradley (shin) available

Possible Starters
PG:  TJ McConnell
SG:  JaKarr Sampson
SF:  Robert Covington
PF:  Nerlens Noel
C:   Jahlil Okafor

Probable Reserves
Hollis Thompson
Pierre Jackson
Richaun Holmes
Jordan McRae
Furkan Aldmir
JP Tokoto
Isaiah Canaan
Jerami Grant

Head Coach
Brett Brown

Carl Landry (wrist) out
Kendall Marshall (knee) out
Nik Stauskas (leg) out
Christian Wood (knee) day to day
Tony Wroten (knee) out
Joel Embiid (foot)  out
Scottie Wilbekin (ankle)  out 

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics have been building their identity around a tough defense and they need to continue to play tough defense.  Defense wins games. 

Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team and go after all the loose balls, and aggressively go after rebounds, and be aggressive on defense.  They also have to be aggressive in taking the ball into the paint. 

Move the Ball - The Celtics have shown beautiful ball movement so far this preseason and they have to continue to move the ball and find the open man.  But they need to make crisp passes and not get sloppy and make careless passes.

Run- The Celtics need to use their depth to run on every possession.  They can get easy baskets if they beat their opponents up the floor. 

Back to Back
- The Celtics are playing on the second night of back to back games.  They were very good in back to back games last season and took pride in winning them.  Hopefully this will carry over to this season as well.

Last Game - It's the last game and it's possible that the team will let up a bit and coast to the finish line.  It's also possible that the coaches will rest key players to avoid an injury in the final preseason game.   However, I expect whichever Celtics who are out there will give it their best effort.

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