Final, Celtics 101-97: Well, that was an improvement.
The Celtics earned their second win of the preseason in their final exhibition, flashing their ball movement potential against the undermanned Nets. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson all took a breather for the night, so don’t schedule any Duck Boat parades yet.
Still, this was a step forward for the Celtics. Not only did they score a “W,” but they did it in teamwide fashion. Gerald Wallace is unlikely to complain about teammates being selfish after they recorded 20 assists on 34 baskets.
Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 16 points each, but Vitor Faverani and Phil Pressey were the players who will be remembered by the dedicated Celtics fans who chose to take in this game rather than Game 1 of the World Series. Faverani totaled 15 points, seven rebounds and six blocks, while Pressey recorded four assists. More importantly, both looked like they belonged.
The Celtics now get an extended period of rest and practice before returning to the court for the regular season. They open next Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Toronto.
Fourth quarter, 2:56, Celtics 91-87: Olynyk has shown that he can ball, but he’s got a lot of things to fix defensively before he can be fully reliable.
Early in the game, Andray Blatche made the rookie look silly by making Olynyk leave the ground every … single .. time Blatche would attempt a shot fake. More recently, Olynyk gave up layups on back-to-back layups with poor off-ball defense.
After one, when Olynyk turned and watched while his man screened Tyshawn Taylor into an easy layup, Courtney Lee gave Olynyk a few quick tips before bringing the ball up the floor.
Fourth quarter, 6:08, Celtics 82-80: It’s time to start trying to win this game. Although none of these games will count on the Celtics’ win-loss record, it would be nice for them to get out of the preseason with more than one victory.
That may be why Stevens is using a standard-looking lineup of Faverani, Bass, Wallace, Lee and Pressey. Green had to be taken to the locker room by Brian McKeon, the team doctor, but he quickly returned to the bench.
Fourth quarter, 8:56, Celtics 74-73: Uh-oh.
Jeff Green went in for a layup and came up holding his left hand or wrist. He looked to be in serious pain, grabbing a pass from Phil Pressey with his right hand and immediately throwing the ball away.
The Celtics were forced to use a timeout to get Green checked out, but the trainer gave it a look and he is now in the huddle.
End of third quarter, Celtics 72-71: There are plenty of things to like about the Celtics’ performance after three quarters. No sooner did we talk about Olynyk being scoreless than he hit a three with a little over five minutes left in the third. Lee, Bass and Green, who is 8-for-8 from the charity stripe, also continue to play well.
However, the Celtics still must tighten up on defense and stop throwing the ball away to edge ahead of the shorthanded Nets. They lead by just one point despite owning the glass, but have committed 14 turnovers and have gifted the Nets 23 free throws.
Third quarter, 5:53, Nets 60-59: Brad Stevens might be hesitant to play them together much, but Faverani and Olynyk are showing some intriguing things as a duo.
Olynyk has yet to score, but his movement alongside Faverani as a high-low combo has had a hand in Faverani continuing his stellar play. The Brazilian now has 13 points, six boards and five blocks.
It will be interesting to see how Faverani fares when Garnett and Lopez are also playing. Still, this is an impressive showing by the rookie.
Oh yeah, and the Celtics showed Mike Napoli’s three-run double on the video screen here at the Garden — much to the delight of the dedicated Celtics fans in attendance.
Halftime, Celtics 49-44: At this rate, the Celtics might end up being fun to watch this year.
Between Faverani’s dunking, reverse layups and shot-swatting, plus Pressey’s passing and Wallace and Green’s finishing abilities, the Celtics could end up being one of those teams everyone on League Pass checks out from time to time out of sheer curiosity.
Faverani has a game-high 11 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots as the Celtics have pushed into the lead at the half. Bradley, who could be forming a rapport with Pressey like he has with Rondo, has 10 points. Almost all of those are off cuts and assisted by the rookie. The Celtics have 19 baskets and 15 of those have been assisted.
It’s important to remember that this Brooklyn team will look far different once the real games start. Garnett, Pierce, Johnson, Lopez and Williams are all out, so the Nets’ leading scorer is Reggie Evans with eight points. It won’t be that way during the regular season.
Second quarter, 2:55, Celtics 41-40: If there is a recipe for how the Celtics can have success this season, they are cooking it up tonight. They aren’t just shooting better than they have all preseason. They are doing it by getting out and running.
That has left to a higher number of turnovers than usual, with nine committed already, but it was also led to easy buckets for Wallace and anyone else who is willing to run. If Pressey keeps finding open men, the Celtics will be happy to get out ahead of the pack knowing the rook with find them.
Second quarter, 5:43, Nets 36-35: This was on its way to being The Vitor Faverani Game. It’s morphed in The Phil Pressey Game.
Pressey is dribbling and dishing his way into the hearts of the fans in attendance. His only weakness is getting a little too fancy. He tried a halfcourt bounce pass to Lee on a fastbreak from an impossible angle, leading to a predictable turnover.
Still, the fact that the undrafted rookie feels comfortable enough to try something like that shows he does not lack for confidence.
Second quarter, 8:26, Nets 32-29: Once again, Courtney Lee looks incredibly comfortable. It’s weird to say that after he went pretty much all of last season without every looking like he knew his role.
Lee nailed a three from the top of the key and executed a perfect pick-and-pop with Kris Humphries for a foul line jumper. He also fed Brandon Bass with a crisp bounce pass into the post that forced the Nets to foul and avoid a sure layup or dunk.
Phil Pressey has teamed with Lee in Boston’s effective backcourt. Pressey later rewarded Bass for his effort, tossing the forward a pass for that dunk he didn’t get thanks to the Nets’ earlier foul. Pressey also found a cutting Wallace with a nice tip-pass that went wasted when Wallace was unable to convert the reverse layup and Humphries was called for basket interference.
End of first quarter, Nets 24-19: Terry looks liberated. He was dashing all over the court in the first quarter, chirping a little with former teammate Bradley. He only had two points but he looked mighty comfortable in Brooklyn black.
Faverani is making a case for the starting center spot on opening night. The big man has five points, four blocks and three rebounds, including his sky-scraper three. He had to come out of the game to stretch his sore back, but the team hopes he will be back in the game soon.
At the end of the first quarter, Green and Tyshawn Taylor are the co-leaders in scoring with six points each.
First quarter, 6:01, Nets 14-7: So … the Nets’ starting lineup wasn’t anything like we expected. Mason Plumlee and Jason Terry got the call over Johnson and Lopez. Terry’s reception wasn’t brutal, but it also wasn’t anything special.
It took a while, but the Celtics finally got a basket. They fell behind 7-2, with their only points coming off a pair of free throws by Faverani. Then Faverani and Blatche drilled back-to-back 3-pointers, assuring the surprisingly large crowd here at the Garden that this is going to be one of those games.
7:08 p.m.: In a classy move, the Celtics held a moment of silence before tip-off for Colleen Ritzer, the Danvers High School student found dead and allegedly killed by a student.
6:28 p.m.: Just thinking out loud here, but how fast will this building empty out right before 8:07 p.m., when first pitch of Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled?
Tip-off here is set for 7 p.m. It might be worth starting things a little early, but it’s unlikely ESPN, which is broadcasting the game nationally (for some reason) will authorize an early tip.
5:34 p.m.: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are not the only ones who will miss this matchup of the teams responsible for the offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade.
Jared Sullinger, who is ill, will also be sidelined, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game. Vitor Faverani, who is battling back stiffness, could also miss the game. But if Faverani can go, he will start at center.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: Paul Pierce’s favorite haunts in Boston may want to set an extra space for him on Wednesday. Those are the only places the former Celtic is likely to make an appearance on Wednesday.
Pierce and Kevin Garnett will not suit up for the Nets’ preseason game against the Celtics. Pierce will not even step foot in TD Garden, he told reporters this week.
“We’re not playing in Boston,” Pierce said, according to the New York Daily News. “We’ll save it for the one trip in January.”
This is the final preseason game for the Celtics and the second-to-last preseason game for the Nets, who will close out the exhibition portion of the season against the Heat on Friday. It is unknown if Pierce or Garnett will play in that game.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7 p.m. ET.
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