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That’s More Like It: Celtics Crush Emporio Armani 105-75

Box Score and Game Highlights

Although the Celtics European trip will last another couple days, they wrapped up their overseas exhibition schedule today with a 105-75 win in Milan, Italy.

As is always the case, there were some useful nuggets to be taken out of this preseason affair, so let’s take a look at some of the main storylines and what they mean (if anything) moving forward.

Rajon Rondo was perfect early: No really, he was. 17 points in the first quarter on 7-of-7 shooting. These weren’t all layups either as the All-Star point guard was pulling up confidently early and often with deep jumpers from beyond the elbows to punish a Armani squad that was going under his picks. Plenty of aggressiveness early in these two contests on the offensive end, which is the kind of aggressiveness Doc Rivers would love to see moving forward as Rondo makes use of his improved supporting cast.

Jared Sullinger and Jason Terry started: Mere experimentation by Doc or something more? With just two preseason games under their built, it’s far too early to tell. However, it’s easy to see the logic behind shifting either guy in the starting five. We’ve yet to see Sullinger face off with legitimate NBA competition but he can perform a role that the C’s haven’t had in years up front amongst the starting five (an active offensive rebounder who can finish).

The former Ohio State star finished nine points and seven rebounds (three offensive) this afternoon. While Sullinger’s size may be a flaw, Garnett’s presence on the floor can help hide his defensive limitations. Again, it’s early and I certainly don’t expect to see Sullinger work his way into the starting five anytime soon, but it’s fun to see Doc tinkering with an idea that could have quite some good karma with it. 

As for Terry, he’s the guy that will more often than not be sharing the floor with the starters in the final five minutes of most close games. Since the starters aren’t playing extended minutes now, it made since for him to get some run with Rondo, Pierce and company to continuing improving that chemistry and he did not disappoint with 11 points, three assists and a couple heads up steals for good measure.

Darko continues to contribute: Chris Wilcox’s back injury has given the former second overall pick an opening for big-time minutes early in the preseason here and Darko continues to pleasantly surprise the Boston faithful with his rebounding and passing acumen. He’s always been a strong shot blocker for the majority of his NBA career so that’s no surprise, but his contributions in other parts of the box score (9 rebounds, 3 assists) in addition to the blocks (4) make his regular insertion into the rotation right out of the preseason a distinct possibility. The next step though is continuing the progress against stiffer competition this week back in the States.

A bench that can score: Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and Jeff Green combine for 39 points on 14-of-19 shooting, all while creating plenty of these scoring chances for themselves in the half court? An unfamiliar and welcome sight for this squad.

The Celtics return back to Boston on Wednesday from Italy, and have a full five days off before their next preseason tilt in Hartford against the Knicks on Saturday night.

 

  • lucidsportsfan

    Rondo is also 8-8 from the free throw line so far. If this is the year he becomes a serious shooter, the rest of the league is in big trouble: http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_10_07_archive….

  • I_Love_Green

    Rondo, Rondo, and Rondo.

  • 123

    Rondo and serious shooter it is from another universe

  • Batman

    Glad to see Courtney Lee looking better
    The Celtics will lead the NBA in headbands per game this year

  • check12check

    my problem with rondo in past years has been all the missed layups, but if rondo can convert all of these opportunities AND continue to develop his jumper (it started becoming noticeably better last season) then Rondo is going to become a superstar. It will get a little scary to see what he can do to the league if his shots are falling and he has so much talent around him to pass to. I'm really excited to think this may be the best celtics team in years

  • VALngJERU

    IF the newcomers could blend faster then half of the job is done.

  • sightline69

    Courtney Lee, is so athletic. RA, i hated to see you go, but its OK now. Ive seen the future and its a 4 guard rotation of sweetness, RR, CL, JET and AB all ready to run the ass off the opposition.

  • IRS

    I kind of like the idea of putting Sullinger in as a low-minute starter. This offense seems to work much better with at least three shooters (not counting Rondo) on the court, and Bass and Garnett are the best options among the bigs. That, I think, is itself a prima facie argument to have one or the other on-court at all times (except in small lineups with Pierce or Green at the 4).

    Sullinger is hardly a bad shooter, but I do not trust him as much as Bass. Moreover, his play thus far indicates that Doc likes him inside, where he can collect offensive rebounds and finish off passes at the rim. That makes him a natural fit beside either of the shooters. But both he and Bass are undersized 4s, and I do not yet like either of them at the five. That means that Sullinger fits most naturally with Garnett, an assured starter.

    I would thus like to see Garnett start with Sullinger, with Sullinger inside, transitioning to Bass and Darko, with Darko inside (with Wilcox, if he can get healthy, taking minutes from Sullinger and Milicic). If the second unit struggles with half-court offense, I can see moving moving Sullinger there to get some post touches, but frankly I am more worried about the starters. Although if Rondo really does have a three, that Rondo/Garnett pick-and-pop becomes terrifying.

  • High Rollers

    Hot tamales, Batman! 14 for 19?!? Nice, Bench Mob! Bring on the ballers!

  • elroz

    Well, if Sullinger can start and play with the starters, it might enable Terry to also start since the bench will have Lee, Bass, Green to score – that bench would be a scoring bench and free up Terry to augment the punch of the starting five.

    I'd rather see Sullinger with the starters than coming off the bench – a young rook needs veteran presence. Start him.

  • TropicalgreenVjfitz

    This pic of Rondo is to die for. Is this a media day picture I haven't seen this one before.

  • Glad to see Darko playing well. One thing that Dic likes is effort and if he continues to show such effort, Darko will find himself in the regular rotation. Here's to Darko's continued success.

  • Josh

    As I try holding back my giddiness, I seriously don't know what I'm more excited for this season! Somebody help me choose:
    -Rondo's ability to improve his jumper
    -Bradley's recovery and potential improvement
    -Jason Terry poppin 3s
    -The insane depth of your bench

  • High Rollers

    Schoolyard Rock.

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