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Game Thread: Boston Celtics begin the preseason against Olimpia Milano

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The first preseason game is finally here as the Celtics take on Olimpia Milano in Milan Italy as part of the NBA's Global Games.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

at
Boston Celtics (0-0) at Olimpia Milano (0-0)
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
2:30 PM ET
NBA-TV, CSNNE, NBA-TV Canada
Mediolanum Forum, Milan, Italy

The Celtics begin their 2015-16 campaign with a preseason game in Milano Italy against EA7 Emporio Armani Milano.  The Celtics have been building chemistry and working on combinations and rotations and will finally get to play against another team.  They won't be taking this opponent lightly, however. 

Olimpia Milano has a team that goes at least 9 deep with players who compete with the Italian National Team and they have played together long enough to have good chemistry on the team.  These two teams last faced off 3 years ago when the Celtics looked much different with only Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley remaining from that team.  The Celtics won that matchup 105-75. 

The Celtics lineups are a work in progress and the possible starting 5 below  is just a guess as to who will start.   Brad Stevens has admitted that he is going to experiment with rotations during this preseason,  hoping to have the starting 5 set by the final preseason game.  To that end,  he may start a different lineup in each game and it's difficult to know who will be out there in any given game. 

Former Celtic, MarShon Brooks played for Olimpia Milano last season, averaging 12.8 points, 2.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds.  He isn't on their roster this season, however.   Oliver Lafayette signed with the Celtics back in 2010 and played in just one game, scoring 7 points.  This is his first season with Olimpia Milano. 

Olimpia Milano will play their first Euroleague game on October 8 vs Dolomiti Energia Trento.  The Celtics will play their second preseason game on the same day against Real Madrid. 




Possible Starters

PG:  36  Marcus Smart G  6'4"
SG: 0  Avery Bradley  G  6'2"
SF:  99  Jae Crowder F  6'6"
PF: 90  Amir Johnson F  6'9"
C:  41  Kelly Olynyk C/F  7'0"

Probable Reserves
63  Coty Clarke F  6'7"
28  RJ Hunter G  6'6"
Jonas Jerebko F  6'10"
38  Perry Jones III  F  6'11"
42  David Lee F/C  6'9"
55  Jordan Mickey F  6'8"
48  Malcolm Miller F  6'7"
60  Levi Randolph SG  6'5"
12 Terry Rozier G  6'1"
7  Jared Sullinger  F  6'9"
Isaiah Thomas G  5'9"
11 Evan Turner G/F  6'7"
46  Corey Watson  G  6'2"
13  James Young G/F  6'6"
44 Tyler Zeller C/F  7'0" 

Injuries
Perry Jones III  (knee) probable
Evan Turner (knee)  out

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Players to Watch

Marcus Smart looked very good in Summer League before his injury.  He will be vying with both Isaiah Thomas and Terry Rozier for the starting point guard spot.  He should make a big leap in his play this season. 


Much has been made of Jared Sullinger's conditioning and weight over the summer.  Now is the time to prove that he put in the work to improve his conditioning over the off season.  He needs to prove that it wasn't just all talk. 


Kelly Olynyk made a strong impression during his international play this summer for Canada's national team.  He made steps to be a leader and to be more aggressive on the court.  He will need to show those qualities to avoid being the odd man out in the big man rotation. 





Probable Starters
PG:  20  Andrea Cinciarini G  6'4"
SG:  11 Krunoslav Simon  G/F  6'6"
SF:  5  Alessandro Gentile G/F  6'7"
PF:  1  Jamal McLean  F/C  6'8"
C:  27  Stanko Barac C  7'1"

Probable Reserves
3  Oliver Lafayette  G  6'2"
6  Andrea Amato  PG  6'3"
7  Bruno Cerella  G/F  6'4"
13 Milan Macvan  F/C  6'9"
15  Daniele Magro  C  6'10"
22  Charles Jenkins G  6'3"
24  Robbie Hummel F  6'9"
31  Gani Lawal C  6'9"

Injuries

Unknown

Head Coach
Jasmin Repesa 

Keys to the Game
Building Chemistry
First and foremost in the preseason,  the Celtics need to develop into a closely knit team that plays well as a unit.  To that end, Brad Stevens will be experimenting with lineups to find the best combinations to put on the court together.   

Defense
Whether preseason or regular season or playoffs, defense is the key to winning.  Danny has brought in a number of players who specialize in defense and who are capable of locking down their opponents.  Hopefully it becomes contagious and every player concentrates on defense and locks Olimpia Milano down. 

Use Their Depth

One of the strengths of the Celtics is their depth.  They need to run, run and run some more and use their depth to keep fresh players on the court while tiring out their opponent. 

X-Factors
Jet Lag - The Celtics traveled from the US to Italy and have been caught up in a whirlwind of sightseeing and team building activities.  They may be a bit tired from all the activity and they face a team that is rested and anxious to avenge the loss of 3 years ago. 

Experience - The Celtics are a young team and although the core were together at the end of last season, they are relatively new to each other unlike the Italian team that has played together for years on both their pro team and the National team.  Hopefully the Celtics have built chemistry through training camp to come together for a win.