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Short handed Celtics take on Real Madrid in 2nd Preseason game

Short handed Celtics look to remain unbeaten as they continue their preseason against Real Madrid.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Boston Celtics (1-0) at Real Madrid (0-0)
Thursday, October 8, 2015
3:00 PM ET
Barclaycard Center, Madrid Spain

The Celtics move on from Olimpia Milano to Real Madrid for their second game in the NBA Global Games this preseason.  The Celtics last played Real Madrid way back in 1988 when Drazen Petrovic lead the Spanish team and Larry Bird led the Celtics.  The Celtics won that game 111-96. 

This game will be a challenge for the Celtics.  Real Madrid has won a record 32 Spanish League championships along with 9 Euroleague Championships.   Real Madrid features 6 former NBA players including Howard Thompkins, Sergio Rodriguez, Jeff Taylor, Gustavo Ayon, Andreas Nocioni and Rudy Fernandez.

The Spanish team is confident in their ability to beat the Celtics in spite of their lopsided win over Olimpia Milano on Tuesday.  Former Bulls forward Andres Nocioni had this to say: "I believe we can compete 100 percent against the Celtics. We are a strong and quality team, which is capable of competing against any NBA team.   We are an experienced team with players that could be playing in the NBA."

It is going to be an even steeper challenge for the Celtics who will be facing the Spanish team short handed.  Perry Jones is back in the USA due to a death in the family.  Evan Turner is out with a knee injury.  Now, word is that there is a nasty respiratory illness going through the team.  Amir Johnson has been ruled out and David Lee is questionable.  Jared Sullinger, among others is also feeling under the weather.  With several of the veterans out, expect to see the younger players get more playing time to prove themselves. 

There will be a lot of pride on the line on both sides in this game.  Brad Stevens will be once again experimenting with lineups and combinations and he has said that there might be a different starting lineup in each preseason game.  I've listed the starting lineup from the last game as well as a possible different line up for this game.  But then again, it could be 5 completely different players in the starting lineup.  Your guess is as good as mine.

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

Starters Last Game

PG:  36  Marcus Smart G  6'4"
SG:  0  Avery Bradley  G  6'2"
SF:  99  Jae Crowder F  6'6"
PF:  42  David Lee  F/C  6'9"
C:   44 Tyler Zeller 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"
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" 

Perry Jones III  (death in family) out
Evan Turner (knee)  out
Amir Johnson (illness)  out
David Lee (illness) questionable

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Players to Watch

Jared Sullinger/RJ Hunter/James Young
Jared Sullinger was the 5th big to enter the game on Tuesday but once he got into the game he made the most of his minutes with 14 points and 4 rebounds.  He doesn't look a whole lot thinner but he may be a bit quicker.   It will be interesting to see when he gets into the game in this one. 
RJ Hunter entered the game in the first quarter and played quite a bit.  He looked comfortable on the court and made the right choices while on the court.  It was interesting to see that he played sooner and more than James Young, who didn't get into the game until garbage time and was unimpressive in his minutes.   But then again, in this game it could be reversed and it will be very interesting to see how Young responds. 

Probable Starters
PG:  23  Sergio Llull 6'4"
SG:  20  Jaycee Carroll  6'2" 
SF:   5  Rudy Fernandez 6'6"
PF:   33 Trey Thompkins 6'10" 
C:   14  Gustavo Ayon  6'10"

Probable Reserves
13  Sergio Rodriguez PG  6'3"
7  Luca Doncic  G  6'6"
41  Guillermo Hernangomez C  6'11" 
8  Jonas Maciulis  SF  6'7"
6  Andres Nocioni  F  6'8"
9 Filipe Reys PF  6'9"
44 Jeffery Taylor  G/F  6'7"


Head Coach
Pablo Laso 

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.   They showed great chemistry in their first game passing the ball so well that their opponents compared them to the Spurs

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 Real Madrid down.  It may be more difficult in this game than it was in their first game. 

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.   No Celtic played more than 25 minutes in the first game and all of the players other than the injured Evan Turner saw time on the court.  We will probably see more of the same in this game. 

The Ability of Players to Step Up
With several of the veterans out for various reasons, it will be interesting to see if the remaining players can step up their game to fill in the blanks for the missing players.  Could this be Jordan Mickey's coming out party?   

Jet Lag - The Celtics traveled from the US to Italy and then from Italy to Spain 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 show that they are as good as any NBA team. 

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 Spanish team that has played together for years.  They are also facing a team with several players who have played in the NBA and will be a challenge. 

Over Confidence
The Celtics beat Olimpia Milano fairly easily.  Hopefully they won't get over confident and take Real Madrid for granted.  They have to play hard from start to finish if they want to be undefeated after this game is finished.

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