Welcome to the first weekly installment of Boston Celtics Sunday, where I will break down the Celtic’s weekly happenings. From the good to the bad, stayed tuned every Sunday!
As a quick introduction from the new guy at Hardwood Houdini, my name is Mark Puleo. A Boston diehard and a hoops enthusiast, the Celtics have been my only true love of whom I will never leave, no matter how many times they break my heart. I’m seventeen years old, a senior at a high school in the Boston area, and am looking at majoring in Sports Journalism next fall. After two months at the Ohio State Buckeye’s scarletandgame.com, I’m wicked thrilled to cover the greatest franchise in basketball history.
Without further ado, here is your premier Celtics Sunday:
The C’s opened the season with four preseason games which can best be described as a series of “growing-pains”. But with the pains comes the growth and so that’s what we’ll focus on here! In their opening night loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, the brightest moment come from sophomore Jared Sullinger. Playing in his first game since January, Sully put in fourteen points and led the team with six rebounds in twenty minutes of action. The second game, on Wednesday, certainly accounted for the dramatics that game one lacked. With just eight minutes to go, the C’s faced a 23 point deficit, but thanks to previously unknown guards Phil Pressey and Chris Babb, the Celtics stormed back and took the lead with under 30 seconds to go on a Pressey layup. The third game against the 76ers didn’t offer too much positivity other than another solid showing from Sullinger (19 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes). But Boston was finally able to put all the pieces together for their rematch with the Knicks, as they blew the rivals away with a thirty point thumping. Six different Celtics scored in double figures, headed by promising first rounder Kelly Olynyk with 15. Marshon Brooks, Jordan Crawford, and Avery Bradley all contributed thirteen points as a foreshadowing to the kind of success Boston fans should expect to see from the guard position this year. The team has also done a great job forcing turnovers thus far, forcing 71 so far, an average of nearly 18 per game. Another promising statistic is their 23.25 assists per game, which would’ve ranked top 5 in the NBA last season.
I hate to be the bearer of the bad news, but those first three games provided way too much bad content for this section. The C’s failed to top 90 points in two of those first three games, while allowing at least 97 in each. They were out-rebounded in the first and third games while failing to top 40% field goal percentage in two of their games. Another not-so-great footnote: no Celtic has topped 20 points in any of the four games. Jeff Green, who is expected to carry much of the scoring burden this season, is shooting a terrible 17% on his 40 shots and hasn’t scored more than eleven points yet, despite the fact that he has played over twenty minutes in each game. The team is shooting just 31% from downtown thus far, not very promising from a team that plans to live and die by the long ball. Obviously the worst statistic of all is the record which shows triple the amount of losses as wins.
Final verdict for week one? Not too pretty. While the first three games provided more of an eye sore than it did highlights, the fourth and last game of the week gave fans reason for optimism. As the team continues to mesh and coach Brad Stevens works to find the perfect combinations for lineups, improved play should be expected. If the team can solve their defensive woes, the sky’s the limit for this young squad. The play of Olynyk has been positive to watch but the play of Green has been equally negative. A few more performances similar to what we saw against the Knicks (the second time) will give the Celtics much-needed confidence.
Stay tuned week after week for continued installments of Celtics Sunday!