The Boston Celtics won’t make the playoffs this season. Neither will the Philadelphia 76ers, but even without Rajon Rondo (who might get traded at some point), there’s some ready talent on this team and not just extremely young players backed with too many draft picks. For Sixers fans, it’s just going to be another season of hovering around or having the worst record in the NBA.
It’s hard to tell right away what’s true and what’s not in the NBA preseason. Not everyone is playing, head coaches are experimenting. It’s difficult telling the seriousness from the less worthy of noting. The end results, 98-78 to the Celtics, tells us that it wasn’t a very close game. Looking at the game itself reveals some interesting points for the Celtics to take note of heading into the season, although things will be very different when Rondo gets back.
Jeff Green didn’t play, but Evan Turner did, playing against his former team. Turner had a terrible time with the Indiana Pacers and was almost a complete non-factor in the postseason. On the Celtics, he’ll be a starter, probably at shooting guard and leading the team in scoring with Green. Turner scored 15 points, playing in the backcourt next to Marcus Smart, who showed why everyone is so enthusiastic about his athletic abilities, although less with his decision making on the floor.
Smart scored just 2 points and was 0-of-8 from the field, including missing five shots from beyond the arc. His defense, however, was excellent, and he made some flashy moves when passing the ball, finishing with 6 assists, 3 steals and one block. Evan Turner also added 11 rebounds and 6 assists, while the C’s frontcourt with Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, back from injury, had no problem dominating the boards, combining to score 24 points and grab 22 rebounds.
Brandon Bass, Marcus Thornton and James Young all had double figures coming off the bench, as the Celtics are hoping that this season won’t be as depressing and of the ‘going nowhere’ type like last year. Brad Stevens had some optimistic moments to hang on to last season, but not a whole lot, and this years he has a bit more to work with and show that taking a gamble on a college coach from Butler wasn’t a bad decision.
For the 76ers, Michael Carter-Williams didn’t play. Jason Richardson wasn’t playing either, and Joel Embiid isn’t coming back anytime soon. Nerlens Noel finally played for the team, not doing much on offense but getting in one blocked shot, his specialty. Tony Wroten and Hollis Thompson did most of the work from the backcourt, scoring 34 points out of the team’s 78, but there was nothing really promising about this bunch, headed towards another awful season.