Boston split its international tour — losing by six points in Turkey and winning a 30-point blowout in Italy — but had to adjust to different players, rules and playing styles. Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger has yet to appear in a game with NBA players, but he said he knows Saturday's game will be a test.
"It's going to be a lot different," Sullinger said at the team's practice facility Friday. "Obviously in the Euro style, the four man's more of a shooter. Going against the Knicks, you got a couple bangers down low, so it's going to be a totally different game."
Some of those "bangers" that New York features include Amar'e Stoudemire and 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Both are top-tier defenders in the NBA, and Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he is looking forward to getting a glimpse, even though the two may not be playing significant minutes.
"Teams don't play their guys a lot, but they do run their new actions, so we can learn a lot about what they're trying to do," Rivers said.
Rivers has been hesitant to play a couple of his star players this preseason, especially Kevin Garnett, who only saw 27 combined minutes of floor time in Boston's first two matchups. Garnett will play more once the regular season starts, but he did notice the caliber of talent on Fenerbahce Ulker and AC Emporio Armani Milano.
"Playing against the NBA talent, no disrepect toward international basketball, but NBA talent is top-of-the-line, grade-A, five-star," Garnett said.
Garnett and the rest of the Celtics will no doubt see some five-star talent Saturday when they take on the Knicks.