First rematch of the year? Time for a preview.
Encore?: The first half can’t go as badly as it did in the last matchup for Philly, can it? The Celtics held the Sixers to just 16 percent shooting en route to a 93-65 victory. It was a dominant defensive display for Boston and an outrocious outing for Philly.
Should we expect more of the same? Well, Philly should have Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala back, but that didn’t help them in their last game against the Nets, a 90-89 loss in the last second(via a Stephen Graham three). But that doesn’t get around the fact that Philly has shot under 40 percent from the field in each of its three preseason contests.
It doesn’t help that the Sixers are shooting a ghastly 13 percent from beyond the arc (6-46) so far in the preaseason. The Celtics shouldn’t be severely tested, but I’ll be intrigued to see how they play Iguodala. I’ll be watching to see how Marquis Daniels plays him if they end up matched up against each other.
Inside Game: I was pleasantly surprised with just how well Jermaine O’Neal played on defense against Toronto, but I’d love to see him get involved in the offense while he is in there. I’d also like to see KG continue to assert himself offensively. His performance against the Raptors was better than I’d seen in the other games, but still left something to be desired.
Rounding into form: This game marks the first of a four-in-five-night stretch for the C’s. As I’ve harped on, I’m liking how this team has battled on the boards and played defensively. That should be the hallmark of this squad if it wants to have real championship aspirations.
While I know we won’t see the starters play a ton of minutes here (Doc has already said Shaq will sit out one of the next two games), I want to see some cohesion forming and the team rounding into regular season form.
But really, I just want the preseason to be over. This stretch should get that accomplished quickly. Let’s see what the Celtics get out of it.