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Boston Celtics face Philadelphia 76ers in first preseason action

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After 159 days with no games, Celtics basketball is finally back!!

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
vs
Boston Celtics (0-0) vs Philadelphia 76ers (0-0)
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 PM ET
Preseason Game #1
TV: CSNNE, NBA LP
Mullins Center, Amherst, MA
Referees: Marc Davis, Josh Tiven, Scott Twardoski


The Celtics begin the preseason with a game against their division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers. In spite of being held in Massachusetts at UMass, this is considered a home game for the Sixers. 76ers legend, Julius Erving played his college ball at UMass and his #32 hangs in the rafters there.
The years of lottery picks have given the Sixers some nice young talent on the roster. After waiting 2 years, they finally have their talented center, Joel Embiid ready to make his debut. Dario Saric is also ready to make his debut after playing in Europe for two seasons. Embiid will have a minutes restriction as he works his way into game shape.

This year's #1 pick, Ben Simmons, who looked promising in Summer League, will miss this game and possibly the season with a broken bone in his foot. Former Celtic Jerryd Bayless is listed as day to day and missed Friday's scrimmage with a sore wrist, but is expected to start at point guard for this game. Jahlil Okafor is expected to miss this game as he continues to rehab from a late season knee injury last season. For the Celtics, Gerald Green is doubtful with a hip flexor and Kelly Olynyk is out as he rehabs from off season shoulder surgery.

The Celtics have swept the 4 game series from Philly the past two seasons and are hoping to continue their mastery over their division rival again this season, beginning with this game. It's always a guessing game to predict the starting lineups for teams in the Preseason as coaches often like to play with their rotations and their lineups and get longer looks at different players and different combinations. I've listed a possible starting lineup for each team.


Possible Starters

PG: Isaiah Thomas 4
SG: Avery Bradley 0
SF: Jae Crowder 99
PF: Amir Johnson 90
C: Al Horford 42

Probable Reserves
Ben Bentil 50
Jaylen Brown 7
Marcus Georges-Hunt 45
RJ Hunter 28
Demetrius Jackson 9
Jonas Jerebko 8
Jalen Jones 52
Damion Lee 56
Jordan Mickey 55
Terry Rozier 12
Marcus Smart 36
James Young 13
Tyler Zeller 44

Injuries

Gerald Green (hip flexor) questionable
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) out

Head Coach: Brad Stevens


Possible Starters

PG: Jerryd Bayless 0
SG: Gerald Henderson 12
SF: Robert Covington 33
PF: Dario Saric 9
C: Joel Embiid 21

Probable Reserves
Anthony "Cat" Barber 5
Elton Brand 4
Jerami Grant 39
Richaun Holmes 22
Shawn Long 36
Timothe Luawawu-Cabarrot 20
TJ McConnell 1
Nerlens Noel 4
Jahlil Okafor 8
Brandon Paul 43
Sergio Rodriguez 14
Nik Stauskas 11
Hollis Thompson 31
James Webb 23

Injuries

Jerryd Bayless (wrist) day to day
Ben Simmons (foot) out

Head Coach: Brett Brown

Interesting Sidelines
The Sixers are loaded with bigs and it will be interesting to see how they use them and if there will be any indication of one of them being showcased for a trade or possibly one of them falling out of favor. Another thing to look for is Joel Embiid's debut in the NBA. He is a very talented big and we have waited 2 years to see him play.

It will be interesting to watch the chemistry between Rozier and Smart, who appear to be the Celtics backcourt on the second unit. Reports are that they are playing very well together and are building good chemistry. Also worth watching is the battle between RJ Hunter and James Young for a spot in the rotation.

Players to Watch
Celtics

This will be the first time that the Celtics top draft pick will be playing against NBA competition and it will be good to see how he measures up.

Jordan Mickey has had a lot of discussion about his potential and now is the time to see if that potential will turn into talent on the court.

Sixers


The Sixers have waited two years for Joel Embiid's debut and they are hoping that the wait will be well worth it for the talented big man.

The Sixers have also had to wait for Dario Saric to come over from playing in Europe. He is a very talented and versatile player and once again, the Sixers are hoping that he will be well worth the wait.

What to Watch For1. Terry Rozier's improvement. Terry's teammates and coaches have been raving about his improvement and Terry wants to earn all of the minutes available after Evan Turner's departure.

2. Marcus Smart's new form - Smart worked hard over the summer to fix his shot mechanics and improve his shooting percentage. In limited time so far, it seems to have worked very well.
3. Jaylen Brown's impact. There were a lot of questions when Danny took Jaylen Brown with the 3rd pick and so far, he has been able to win over most of his doubters. But, seeing him play against NBA competition should give more of an idea of how much he may be able to contribute.
4. Al Horford. The Celtics were able to sign one of the premiere free agents this summer and it appears that he is a perfect fit for the Celtics system. We get to see how perfect beginning with today's game.