Rapid reaction after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 97-89 in exhibition play on Monday night at TD Garden: Gerald Wallace scored a team-high 16 points to pace four Celtics players in double figures, but Boston shot just 39.8 percent from the floor and dropped the first of four preseason games this week. Jared Sullinger added 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists over 20 minutes (and was a team-best plus-9) to help Wallace fuel Boston’s inspired bench effort.
When someone writes Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens’ biography, it probably will not include much about his first NBA preseason game. But if it did, the chapter would begin with a Jonas Valanciunas run, a TD Garden filled with dread (so this is what the post-Kevin Garnett Era looks like?), and a Celtics offense failing to operate in a successful manner.
Then on theday of his NBA debut, Stevens, the league’s youngest coach (36) and the newest leader of its most championship-rich franchise, walked onto the empty arena’s fabled parquet and looked around. “I had to see where my seat was,” he said before his team’s 97-89 loss in what will be its first of four preseason games in six nights, the next coming Wednesday against New York in Providence. But the pregame moment wasn’t anything more than that, and Stevens apologized for being boring. He’s also, in fact, quite the early bird, too: when he coached at Butler, he often arrived at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7 or 8 a.m. on game days.
Rudy Gay and Tyler Hansbrough both scored 17 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 97-89 preseason victory over Boston on Monday night in Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens’ NBA debut. DeMar DeRozan had 13 points and Terrence Ross added 12 for the Raptors. Gerald Wallace led the Celtics with 16 points, and Jared Sullinger had 14 with six rebounds. The 36-year-old Stevens was hired in July after a successful run at Butler University.
Kris Humphries arrived at Monday’s Boston Celtics preseason opener wearing a black eye, so naturally one of the reporters joked he and Rajon Rondo must have had Round 2.
This is going to be a recurring storyline, so if this kind of stuff makes you queezy you’ll need to grab a bottle of Maalox and hunker down for a long year. If you are a hard line “moral victories are still just losses” kind of person, then I have bad news for you. I know that some folks feel like every day that we don’t win a Championship is a frustration. (I’ve heard that this is common for Yankee fans) For those people all I can say is… welp.
OK, let’s start with the bad news. According to the numbers on the TD Garden scoreboard, the Celtics did not fare in their preseason opener against theToronto Raptors tonight. They fell behind early in hideous fashion, allowing the Raps to get out to leads of 8-0 and then 14-2, and despite multiple attempts to claw their way back later in the evening, they came up short. The Celtics lost 97-89, and their quest for the first win of the Brad Stevens era will have to wait.