After just 79 days since their game 6 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics were back in action Tuesday night for a preseason meeting against the Philadelphia 76ers. Before we dive into the game, I want to remind fans to remember that this is the PRESEASON! There is no need for Celtics fans to stress about the struggles of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The preseason is more about focusing on the free agent signings, and the rookies than it is worrying about the stars. We know what Tatum and Brown are capable of, so there is no need to fret.
Both Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith had strong games in their preseason debuts. Both rookies looked confident and comfortable. Pritchard finished with 16 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists, and Nesmith with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist. Pritchard shot 6 of 10 from the field and was very impressive with his scrappy defense, and his ability to move the ball. Pritchard played 4 years of college basketball with Oregon, and achieved some pretty impressive accolades. In his senior season, Pritchard won the PAC-12 player of the year award and was a consensus first team All American. Nesmith, who was regarded by many to be the best 3- point shooter in the draft class finished just 1-5 from deep. Nesmith shot 52.2% from from deep, and was not afraid to let the 3 ball fly in the preseason opener. One thing that was a little skeptical for Nesmith was his defense. The 76ers took advantage of him on the defensive end and beat him to the bucket quite a few times. But all in all, both rookies made the most of their minutes on the court and showed they have the ability to compete for minutes.
12 year NBA vet Jeff Teague was the best player on the floor for the Celtics and showed he still has some gas left in the tank. Teague finished with 18 points and shot 4-4 from three. Teague showed he can offer something the Celtics lacked all last season, that being bench scoring. He also showed that he has the ability to help fill the shoes of Kemba Walker, who is out with a knee injury until January. Teague, the eldest Celtic at 32, will look to provide veteran leadership for the team when the season gets rolling.
The Celtics did not play their best basketball, and will certainly need to tune up the offense before the regular season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics hope to have big men Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis back before they face off with the Bucks, but it will certainly be interesting to see how head coach Brad Stevens handles this lineup to start the season.