Coach Brad Stevens hinted before the game that we would see Isaiah Thomas get significant playing time in this game and it became clear early on why that was part of the game plan. IT came off the bench rusty after sitting out the last two games with knee tendinitis, missing his first 6 shots and finishing with a mere 7 points on an unsightly 3-for-17 shooting from the field.
Thomas wasn't the only one struggling with his shot, as both teams would have had trouble hitting the broad side of a barn tonight. Neither team was shy about gunning from long range, but those shots weren't falling on either end. Boston hit only 6 of 28 from beyond the arc and finished the game shooting a putrid 35 percent from the floor. As you might imagine, the Sixers were even worse.
When teams are missing that many shots there is bound to be plenty of rebounds to go around. Boston collected a staggering 66 rebounds as a team, including a trio of players that finished in double-digits. Jared Sullinger led the glass cleaning clinic with 14 boards, with Amir Johnson (13) and Kelly Olynyk (12) helping him control the boards.
Avery Bradley got off to a quick start with 6 points and 4 steals in the first 10 minutes of the game, but spent the rest of the night watching from the bench. The team says he is recovered from the bruised shin that forced him to exit from last night's game early, but wanted to be cautious by limiting his minutes in this game. The plan was to give Bradley all of his minutes early so that the Celtics could retain the same starting lineup that they used in the previous game, which seems to be the unit we can expect to start on Opening Night next week.
Boston led by only 3 points at the half, but pulled away starting in the third quarter, primarily on the strength of their bench. All 17 guys on the team saw the court tonight, with this being the final chance of live game action that we'll get to see before the Celtics need to trim the roster down to 15 by next week.
The rookies got some decent run together in the 4th quarter, with Jordan Mickey proving to be particularly impressive. He played only 12 minutes tonight, but tied for the team lead with 10 points, while chipping in 4 boards and a couple of blocks.
Boston finishes the season 6-1 in the preseason and seem eager to start the season next Wednesday night.