Shamrock roundup: Celtics fall to Sixers, look for redemption against Nets
For the Celtics, Philadelphia was no city of brotherly love on Monday as they fell 107-75 in a preseason game to the Sixers. Kevin Garnett got the night off, and the Big Tickets’ absence set the tone for the night: the Celtics looked disinterested, sloppy and out of sync from the opening tip.
They totaled an inexcusable 21 turnovers on the night—14 of which came before halftime, when the blowout wasn’t yet assured—and struggled to gain any momentum on the offensive end. Paul Pierce chipped in a team-high 16 points to go with four turnovers over 21 minutes, and Rajon Rondo contributed only six assists compared to four turnovers of his own.
Darko Milicic started in place of Garnett, with Jared Sullinger at power forward, Pierce at small forward, Courtney Lee at shooting guard and Rondo at the point. Coach Doc Rivers seemed intent on giving new-look lineups a chance to mesh—like the one featuring Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, either Pierce or Jason Terry, and Rondo—but the chemistry was slow to develop.
“Some of our guys, I thought, got frustrated early because other guys forgot plays or didn’t know things and I think that’s a lesson too,” Rivers said after the game (via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg).
That’s no surprise considering the roster turnover from last year, but Rivers has to be careful about experimenting too much with the regular season around the corner. At some point, the emphasis must shift to making sure players know their defensive rotations and offensive sets in their sleep—not whether they can succeed in a hybridized small ball lineup like the one the Celtics had on the floor last night.
It’s tough to find positives to take away from the loss, so maybe it’s just as well that the Celtics will have a chance to redeem themselves tonight at TD Garden against the revamped and rebranded Brooklyn Nets.
Rondo will have a chance to test his mettle against fellow All-Star guard Deron Williams, and the Celtics will look to contain the smooth-shooting stylings of former Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson.
You can catch the game on CSNNE tonight at 7:30—or head to TD Garden to support the guys in green.