The Boston Celtics began their preseason campaign with a 97-91 loss to Fenerbache Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday, October 5. While wins and losses mean nothing in exhibitions, the Celtics did come away with plenty of positives as well as areas that need more attention.
Boston was certainly rusty playing poor defense and turning the ball over 25 times leading to 23 Fenerbache points as a result. Those issues will be addressed and quickly corrected moving forward.
Limited minutes from starters:
As expected, this was not a game where coach Doc Rivers was going to send out his starters to dominate a foreign team, especially when the game held no significance. Kevin Garnet played 15 minutes, Paul Pierce had 26 minutes, and Rajon Rondo played for 30 minutes. Rondo contributed 13 points and nine assists, Pierce added eight points, and Garnett picked up six points and four rebounds on the day.
Bench gets work:
The role of the Celtics' starting five is clearly defined. How the bench fits into the picture and their individual roles has yet to be established. Rookie Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, and Jason Terry all proved to be valuable pieces in this first look at the 2012-13 Celtics. It was great to see Green back in action, contributing 16 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes. Terry added 12 points with a trio of three-pointers in 20 minutes on the court.
Jared Sullinger impresses:
Sullinger impressed scoring 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. He shot 7-11 from the field and made his presence known in the paint. As a rookie, he showed confidence and poise, which was great to see. How he fares against legitimate NBA talent has yet to be determined, however he is off to a great start. I am certainly anxious to watch is contributions moving forward this preseason.
The game was far from polished but it did allow the starting five to get in work on the floor and allowed key bench players (Green, Terry, and Sullinger) to get their minutes and continue to develop their individual roles on the team. While a preseason loss is disappointing, it holds as much significance as an inter-squad scrimmage. What the team takes away from the experience and how they use it to improve moving forward will be what is most important.
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Paul Rados is an avid Boston Celtics fan and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados.
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