Originally posted on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 10/14/13
Just a few thoughts on an off day in the preseason. It was good for the Celtics to get a dominant win over the Knicks, even though it was just against the Knicks' 2nd and 3rd units. Now they have a taste for winning as a team and that's important for a young team like this. They may not be ready for a big win streak, but it's important that they get that first win under their belts. One of the biggest surprises of the preseason so far, for me at least, is Jordan Crawford. I have to admit that coming into the season, Crawford was on my short list of players that I wouldn't mind seeing play elsewhere. I felt he was immature and a loose cannon on the court. But, I have to say that he has been a very pleasant surprise so far this season. He has shown that he can play the point and make good decisions. He hasn't been taking bad shots, which in itself is amazing. Most importantly, his ability to run the point effectively allows Avery Bradley to move back to shooting guard, where he is most effective. According to ESPN Boston, he has made fans among his teammates and coaches this season. "He talks a lot. But I love it because he doesn’t just back it up, he brings it every single game, every single practice," Bradley said of Crawford. "All you can do is respect somebody like that, and be happy he’s on your team. Because you have somebody that’s going to go out every single night and play hard with you, no matter what. I just love playing with him." "[Crawford is] very misunderstood," said Jared Sullinger. "He’s really a team-first type of guy. Very good teammate. And he makes the right plays. Everybody says he makes the wrong plays, [but] he makes the right plays. And he looks for his shot, and that’s what everybody does. He knows his role." "My impression of Jordan Crawford before I got here was he almost beat us at Hinkle," said Stevens, referencing a 2009 meeting in which Crawford scored 20 points but No. 21 Butler escaped with a 69-68 triumph. "He put on a show, so I knew what he could do scoring the ball. He’s a really good passer. He’s a better passer than people realize. He’s done nothing but buy in." It appears that Crawford is maturing and just may be the answer to fill in for Rondo at the point until he returns. Phil Pressey is a pure point guard but is inexperienced and so would do better as a back up than a starter. The competition between Crawford and Pressey in practice is helping to make both players better. I like the Crawford/Bradley backcourt so far. Hopefully we see more of it. For those who have been Celtics fans for awhile, the name Jonathan Niednagel should ring a bell. We don't hear all that much about him these days, but Danny Ainge has leaned on Dr Niednagel's brain typing to bring in players and make decisions in the past. For instance, he gave Scal a 5 year deal because he has the same brain type as Michael Jordan. Fast forward to the story in today's Globe and we go from the Brain Doctor to the Sleep Doctor. Brad Stevens has consulted sleep specialists in the past to help give his Butler Bulldogs an edge. And, it appears that the Brain Doctor wasn't the only specialist that the Celtics have turned to for an edge. Since 2009, Dr. Charles Czeisler, the chief of the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, has helped to coordinate the Celtics’ travel schedule in order to give players optimal rest. Many NBA players take pregame naps — Miami’s LeBron James and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant swear by them — and Mah and Czeisler said that naps are a good power boost that can last for a few hours, but naps and caffeine can’t replace a night of proper sleep. “It won’t turn a couch potato into an NBA player,” Czeisler said, “but if you’re looking for a potential advantage, sleep could mean the difference between winning and losing.” So it is no surprise that Stevens is interested in this potential advantage, as he is, more than anything, a coach who spends his every waking moment searching for that one edge that could decide the difference. The MVP of Celtics in the preseason so far has been Jared Sullinger. In training camp, Sully said that he was medically ready for the season and had no questions about his back. But, he also cautioned that his conditioning was far from where it should be and so we weren't expecting a lot from him in the preseason. But, he has surprised us and has been the best player on the Celtics so far. He has given the Celtics an effective inside presence and has shown an uncanny knack for grabbing rebounds. If this is how he plays when his conditioning isn't very good, I can't wait to see what's in store once he is ready to play. The Celtics resume their preseason play Tuesday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets. I don't mind telling you that it's going to be very hard watching Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett playing against the Celtics. I would say that Coach Stevens has found a combination that works in the back court. It will be interesting to see if he will start Crawford and Bradley again or continue to experiment with lineups.  It's coming to the time when lineups should start to stabilize a bit and the Crawford/Bradley back court seems to work for now.  I've also been impressed with Gerald Wallace and he clearly has outplayed Jeff Green so far.  I'd like to see a starting lineup of Crawford, Bradley, Wallace, Sully, and Humphries.  The center could also be Vitor Faverani, who has been a pleasant surprise.  I like his toughness and he has a nice touch around the basket.  Give him a little more experience and he is going to be very solid. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
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