Firstly, a happy birthday to Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Jermaine O'Neal.
I was not overly concerned with the Celtics' rematch against the 76ers, although Avery Bradley's debut drew some attention. As I have said before, the preseason gives telltale signs of bench potential.
Reported by ESPN Boston, Doc Rivers was impressed with Bradley:
"Avery played great in the first half, you can see what he can do with ball pressure. It's amazing," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "But in the second half, I thought he got tired, No. 1. And I thought his ankle stiffened up, that's why we had to put Nate [Robinson] in. We didn't want to take [Bradley] out, but he couldn't have survived. "I was happy. He's going to be a really good player."
Celtics fans have been waiting to get a live look at Bradley, and although a 1-6 posting is not ideal, Bradley exhibited tenacious defensive abilities that the Celtics are relying upon looking toward the future. Becoming in-sync offensively is more of an expectation of development than a concern.
On to last night's matchup against the Knicks.
Jermaine O'Neal's impact on the starting lineup.
The battle for the 15th spot: Von Wafer, Stephane Lasme and Mario West.
From a surface perspective, Kevin Garnett's ejection, along with Paul Pierce's game-winning jumper with eight seconds left, were the highlights of the game.
KG's technical foul raises questions as to the extent of the new NBA rules regarding player banter. The NBA may already be exhibiting their intent to crack down on players arguing and complaining.
Personally, I find the new “rules” to be a ridiculous premise. The NBA is a heat of the moment league, and I do not agree with disallowing players to express personal frustration based on calls that can be can be purely judgment calls.
Regardless, it was refreshing to watch Garnett laugh off his ejection.
Pierce, Allen and Rondo all posted big minutes against the Knicks, and they all scored in double figures.
Pierce looks thinned, fresh and quicker on drives than a year ago, a point of emphasis that the entire squad realizes the importance of for the upcoming season. Pierce's response to hitting the game winner: “I had an 11 o'clock reservation” (for b-day dinner).
The statistical highlight of the evening was Luke Harangody's 16/12 performance. Harangody looked strong going up for rebounds, ripping them away from surrounding Knicks.
Jermaine O'Neal's impact was minimal, and he didn't play much down the stretch. Regardless, it was good to see him looking healthy moving up and down the court.
The 15th spot contest remains heated, and Von Wafer's two-minute stint cannot be a positive sign for the fourth-year player.
Stephane Lasme logged 15 minutes, while Mario West did not play. Doc Rivers has admitted to having little knowledge of Lasme's abilities prior to camp, but has clearly been impressed with him thus far.
The 15th spot remains a mystery, and will likely continue to be up in the air until the end of the preseason. Lasme is the only player of the three that has proven himself statistically, but would merely be an onlooker if chosen.
Resting Shaq (hip) and Glen Davis (sore knee) are only precautions that Doc Rivers would appropriately take two weeks away from the regular season. Davis has impressed thus far this preseason and was worthy of a good rest.
The Celtics play the Raptors on Friday.
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