By Tyler Sullivan. Follow on Twitter @TylerSully
After completing the European sweep beating Real Madrid earlier today and Olimpia Milano on Tuesday, the Celtics will head home to wrap up the preseason.
Obviously Real Marid and Olimpia Milan aren’t NBA caliber clubs, but they are still a couple of the better teams in Europe and the C’s looked solid in each win.
Here are a few things that stood out.
The Starting Lineup
This is the lineup I think we will see on opening night. Defensively they are very sound with the Smart-Bradley-Crowder backcourt. David Lee was great offensively aggressively cutting to the basket averaging 13 points, 9 rebounds and was a force in the passing game.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens did say to not read too much into what the lineups looked like, but he isn’t starting them for no reason.
Jae Crowder led the team with 47 total minutes on the court followed by Isaiah Thomas (46). There really is no surprise here. Thomas is the C’s primary scoring option and Crowder is their best overall Small Forward. I expect this to hold true throughout the season.
Interesting to note that outside of Jordan Mickey (rookie), Amir Johnson (DNP in Game 2 -illness) and Perry Jones (DNP in Game 2 – personal), Jared Sullinger logged the least amount of total minutes out of Boston’s bigs.
David Lee (42), Kelly Olynyk (37), Tyler Zeller (35) and Jonas Jerebko (33) all saw more time than Sully who squeezed in only 26 total minutes in two games.
R.J. Hunter (28th overall) was the only rookie to see first half action today and seemed like pretty comfortable with the unit. The stats won’t show it (1-6 shooting), but on court vision and defensive reads were impressive.
Terry Rozier (16th overall) was extremely impressive against Real Madrid racking up 14 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in 16 minutes of work. The main issue for Rozier, like all rookies, is ball security. The Louisville product in Game 1 of the European games had 2 give aways, but improve with none in the second game. It’s going to be interesting, given the teams collection of guards, if Rozier can shake some minutes loose for himself.
Jordan Mickey (33rd overall) played the least out of the rookies, but was effective when put into action. In the Olimpia Milano game, he boasted a 7 point-3 rebound stat line in 7 minutes of work. Against Real Madrid, he played 14 minutes dunking twice on the way to 5 points. He also recored a steal, block and 2 rebounds.
Avery Bradley’s three point shooting
If you are like me or, I assume, Brad Stevens , you cringed each time Avery Bradley relentlessly pulled up for one of those long range two pointers from the top of the key last season. It seems like it has been a point of emphasis for Bradley to steer away from those and take more attempts from beyond the arch. In total he drained 7-8 shots from deep and seemed pretty comfortable doubled pumping to fake out defenders for the clean look. If Bradley can continue to develop a consistent three point shot coupled with his defense, he’ll put himself in position to make the next step in his career.
Olynyk looked good in Europe especially with his ball handling skills having highlight crossovers in each game like this double-cross against Olimpia Milano.
Olynyk and frankly all of the Celtics preformed well in the passing game even if they did not all look as pretty as this alley-00p to Amir Johnson.
Outside of that illness hitting Amir Johnson, David Lee and some other Celtics, the team stayed healthy during their stay in Europe.
Evan Turner looks to be progressing from his knee injury and he also has some advice for some of his teammates so they will not catch whatever it is going around the locker room.
Rest of the way
The Celtics are scheduled to return home to the United States tomorrow and this is how the rest of their preseason schedule looks before the October 28th home opener against Philly.
Wednesday October 14 at Brooklyn Nets (Barclays Center)
Friday October 16 at New York Knicks (Madison Square Garden)
Monday October 19 vs. Brooklyn Nets (TD Garden)
Thursday October 22 vs. New York Knicks (TD Garden)
Friday October 23 vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Verizon Wireless Arena)