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Off the offensive: Celtics fall to Nets 82-80 (Full Recap)

This was weird.

Tuesday’s preseason game against Brooklyn wasn’t the triumphal return, nor was it the emotional matchup we’ve all been waiting for. Kevin Garnett was nowhere to be seen. Paul Pierce scored just one basket. And most importantly, the game itself was bad offensively and tough to watch,

This doesn’t need to be particularly long. Few, if any, of the combinations we saw showed much promise. Players who had good games against New York on Saturday (Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford) regressed hard. Three of the most exciting players (Jared Sullinger, Vitor Faverani and Phil Pressey) saw 30 minutes combined. Tonight was clearly about two things: 1) Trying a few very specific lineups over an extended period of time and 2) Making sure there were players with legs Wednesday.

Whatever the specific lineups were supposed to accomplish, it’s safe to say we missed it on Tuesday. The offense was just bad on both ends. The Celtics were 31-for-87 from the field, 5-for-17 from 3-point range, and somehow they outshot the Nets both inside and outside the 3-point arc. Brooklyn was 3-for-21 from deep, an abysmal 14.3%.

If Tuesday was an anomaly, the Celtics could still shake it off and continue to develop. If it wasn’t an anomaly, well, Andrew Wiggins/Julius Randle and a high lottery pick are all beckoning. If it’s somewhere in between the two…who knows.

Anyway, let’s get to some bullet points:

  • I’ve been overwhelmingly negative so far, so let’s start with the most positive statistics. Kelly Olynyk was 5-for-8, and although he looked hesitant to take open 3-pointers still, he did grab four rebounds and record Boston’s only positive double digit +/- with +10. Also: Avery Bradley pulled down nine rebounds which is more than Jeff Green has grabbed all preseason ┬áNEVER MIND, I’M BEING POSITIVE. Courtney Lee finished 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Jeff Green looked aggressive attacking the basket.
  • Jared Sullinger was 1-for-2 from 3-point range, but something interesting happened when he hit his first 3-pointer. On the next play, he got the ball in the corner and elevated for a shot. Brook Lopez came flying over to contest the shot and he got a piece of it, but with Lopez out of the lane, the Celtics were able to grab an offensive rebound. On the next play, Sullinger shot-faked behind the 3-point line and got his man in the air, driving into the lane and creating contact and a foul. I questioned Sullinger’s shot selection early, but as always, Brad Stevens knows more than me. Sully has just enough range to force defenders to respect him, and that’s all he needs to make the 3-point line a legitimate weapon in his offensive arsenal. The spacing provided by his 3-point shooting could be very useful in unclogging a clogged lane.
  • Bradley, like much of the rest of the offense, shot poorly despite his nine rebounds, making one wonder to what extent his 6-for-10 performance on Saturday was a product of Small Sample Size Theater.
  • Jordan Crawford struggled badly. His line (5-for-12 for 10 points as well as six assists) looks a little better than it was, especially given his five turnovers. His poor shot selection could be attributed to the struggles of the rest of the offense, or, you know, to him being Jordan Crawford. His next game will be telling.
  • For my money, Celtics games in 2013-14 without Vitor Faverani are games without meaning.

The Celtics take the floor again tonight, facing the Raptors in Toronto.We can expect to see more Faverani, more Pressey and possibly more Olynyk (who tallied 20 minutes last night). All of this will probably add up to make tonight’s game more fun as well.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • humphreyboagart

    Avery's shot selection was "interesting". I think he got blocked countless times when he tried to attack the basket.

  • hax

    the + – stat is always wayyy off, just throwing that out there. It's easy to find guys going 20-5-5 and having a – in that category, while guys who play 10 mins get huge + if they make a couple shots.

    Also games without Faverani have no meaning? Not sure what that means. He's struggled, looks short and soft. He makes Olynyk and Sullinger look like Shaq

  • CelticsBIG3

    Jeff Green stinks. Its official. All the guy does is throw down a big dunk once and a while. Otherwise he is totally passive, sucks at rebounding, and is useless in a double team situation. I watched him throw the ball away at least three times and fumble it like an old man at least twice when double teams came. His inadequacies will be exposed BIG TIME without defenses having to worry about KG or Pierce. He stinks; and this is only preseason. Imagine what he'll look like when teams actually give a shit.

    • YouSerious?

      This is bit of a jump to conclusions when you put so much stock in the preseason. Also, realistic/observant fans would realize Jeff Green cannot function as a team's first option on offense with his lack of handles and craftiness, but really, if you're going to say he sucks every time you talk about him, that's just flat wrong. He has ability.

  • hax

    17 points in 20 mins by Brooks tonight against the raptors. Starting SG!