Oct 5, 2012, 6:00 PM EST
Don’t read anything into the final score.
Yes, the Celtics dropped their preseason opener 97-91 to Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey. No, at times it was not really pretty — stretches of weak rebounding, too many turnovers and an offense that had fits and starts — but what do you expect in your first preseason game?
Fenerbahce Ulker looked like a team that had been playing competitive games already — they were more fit, their passing was more crisp, and they played with a sense of urgency. This was a big game for them at home.
And they had Bo McCalebb, one of the best international point guards (an American by birth) slashing into the Celtics defense almost at will. That had to grate on Doc Rivers. Combine him with Romain Sato (the former Xavier player who seemed to hit everything) and the two combined for 45 points.
For Boston, this wasn’t about a win, it was about learning about young players.
Two stood out — Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. Each had 16 points (Boston’s high). It was great to see Green out on the floor, running and attacking the glass after he had missed a season due to heart surgery. His athleticism off the bench will be a boost for Boston this season (compared to, say, Marquis Daniels in years past). Sullinger continues to show a nose for rebounds and just an ability to score around the basket.
Of the regulars, Rajon Rondo looked best, looking like a leader. He had 13 points and nine assists.
Fenerbahce Ulker led pretty much the entire game, taking advantage of Celtics misses and pushing the pace before the Celtics could set their defense. In addition, the kind of off-the-ball movement and backdoor cuts European teams do out of habit made this a tough first preseason game for the Celtics. This was not an opponent who fell into Boston’s comfort zone.
So don’t read much into it. It looked like a first preseason game.
- Thursday night NBA grades: Any more questions for LaMarcus Aldridge? Didn’t think so. 0
- Lakers’ Steve Blake out at least six weeks with elbow injury 9
- Report: Knicks, Raptors talking Kyle Lowry trade 20
- Tom Thibodeau to the Knicks? Well… 4
- Deserving or not Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade among All-Star starters in early voting returns 35
- NFL legend Jim Brown takes shot at Kobe Bryant, Kobe fires back (64)
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark (62)
- Pacers win first Conference Finals rematch vs. Heat (50)
- Raptors trade Rudy Gay to Sacramento for multiple players (47)
- Adam Silver: NBA to consider doing away with divisions (39)