Boston Celtics' Jason Terry (4) goes for a basket against Fenerbahce
Ulker's Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during an exhibition basketball game in
Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.(AP Photo/TURKPIX)
In their first game of the preseason, the Celtics showed some rust as they came up short to Fenerbache Ulker 97-91. There were plenty of things they need to work on, but plenty to be excited about as well. We got a chance to see a lot of the young guys as Doc kept his starters on the bench in the second half.
We saw some struggles from both veterans and young guns alike in this game. The fact that they are still getting used to playing together could best be seen in the 25 turnovers committed, with 14 of those being committed in the first half. That number will surely come down as they get used to playing with each other and once they get the rust out.
There were plenty of defensive breakdowns when players didn't quite rotate quickly enough. One thing I know Doc will be working on is pick and roll defense as the Celtics got beat on that play all game long. They allowed way too many easy buckets on cuts to the hoop. They also need to work on 3 point defense. The shooting was a bit rusty, which also could be expected for the first game of the season. But all those things are going to improve, even by the next game.
Boston Celtics' Jeff Green (8) goes for a basket against Fenerbahce
Ulker's players during an exhibition basketball game in Istanbul,
Turkey, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.(AP Photo/TURKPIX)
The positives outnumbered the negatives in this game in spite of the loss. As i said, we got a good look at some of the young guys and there's a lot to be excited about. Jared Sullinger was very impressive. He has a nose for the ball and proved that he can play at a high level against bigger players. He's a very smart player and just has a nose for rebounds. He finished with 16 points on 7-11 shooting, mostly playing strong in the post. He also added 8 rebounds, 5 on the offensive end. He definitely can crack the rotation and help the team this season.
Another bright spot was the play of Jeff Green. He simply took over for a stretch in the second half and seemed to be able to get to the hoop at will, where he proved an excellent finisher. He shot 7-10 for 16 points along with 4 rebounds. As promised before the preseason, he was more aggressive and seemed very comfortable on the court.
Much has been debated about the Darko signing and he showed today that he will help the team. He was the first big off the bench and looked pretty good for his first game. My choice for the play of the game was one of Darko's rebounds. Pierce had missed a 3 pointer and Darko was sitting on the floor but still was able to tip the rebound out to Jason Terry. Darko was aggressive on the boards and made some very good outlet passes. He's a very good passer. He had just 2 points but he pulled down 6 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in 15 minutes.
Fab Melo showed that he will be a very good player at some point. He also showed that he needs some time to get there. He made one monster block and was very active on defense around the basket. Dionte Christmas played just 6 minutes and didn't get to show much of his game. Jamar Smith played the point for 12 minutes and was just 1-4 with no assists.
As for the vets, they are who we think they are. Jason Terry was very active on defense and was 3-3 from beyond the arc, hitting some clutch baskets. Courtney Lee struggled with his shot and had a shaky start but his athleticism and defensive ability were obvious. Rondo, Pierce, Bass and Garnett were great at times and out of sync at times. By the 2nd or 3rd game they should put it together.
Even though it was a loss, the game was very entertaining and it was fun watching the young guys play and seeing the potential that is there. It's going to be a fun year. Next game will be in Milan on Sunday with coverage beginning at 11 am ET.
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