at Boston Celtics (1-0) at Philadelphia 76ers (0-1)
Friday, October 6, 2017
7:00 PM ET
Preseason Game #1, Road Game #1
TV: NBA-TV, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 97.5 The Fanatic
Wells Fargo Center Probable Starters
PG Kyrie Irving........... SG: Jaylen Brown
C: Aron Baynes
SF: Gordon Hayward .............. PF: Al Horford
Brad Stevens Probable Starters
PG: Markelle Fultz ................. SG: JJ Redick
C: Richaun Holmes
SF: Robert Covington .............. PF: Ben Simmons Sixers Reserves
James Blackmon, Jr
James Michael McAdoo
Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot (knee) out
Joel Embiid (knee) out
Amir Johnson (ankle) probable
Dario Saric (rest) out
Markelle Fultz (shoulder) probable Coach
Brett BrownGame Notes
The Celtics face their longtime division rival, the Philadelphia 76ers for their second preseason test. The Celtics looked good in their first game against the Charlotte Hornets who brought back most of their starters from last year and added Dwight Howard. The Sixers lost their opener against the Grizzlies 110-89 on Wednesday.
The Sixers will present a different challenge with their core of talented young players and veterans. Their “process” is supposedly finished after tanking for what seems like forever. They have a team filled with high lottery picks including the last two #1 picks. They say they are ready to actually try to win games for a change.
In their first game against the Hornets, the Celtics’ starters played very well together. Marcus Morris returned to the team on Thursday and may eventually move into the starting lineup at the 4, but since Baynes played so well with the starters in their first game, I'm going to guess that he remains in the starting lineup. I'm also going to guess that the Sixers will start the same group that they did against the Grizzlies, but in the preseason, there is always a chance that either team could experiment with different starters, especially with the Sixers losing their opener by 21 points.
The Celtics have no one on the injured list as of now. Marcus Morris is back with the team and originally said he would play in this game, but now he is planning to sit this one out while he works back into game shape. For the Sixers, Embiid has not been cleared for practice after March 24 surgery for a torn meniscus. Cabarrot is trying to rehab from patellar tendinitis and is also out. Amir Johnson injured his ankle in Tuesday's practice and is day to day. Dario Saric has been resting after playing in Eurobasket and is also day to day. Robert Covington was limited at Thursday's practice with a sore knee and but is probable for this game. Markelle Fultz has a sore shoulder and is listed as probable for this game. Key Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Markelle Fultz
Although Ben Simmons does most of the ball handling and runs the offense when he is in the game, Kyrie will likely be matched up with Fultz, who was disappointed in his first game with the Sixers. On Wednesday, he struggled with fatigue when he was the primary ball handler and had just 4 points on 2-13 shooting with 3 assists. He will look to do much better in this game.
Al Horford vs Ben Simmons
With the Sixers running their offense through Simmons, for the most part, Al's defense will be key in trying to disrupt the Sixers' offense. Al needs to keep him away from the basket and make him shoot from outside.
Jayson Tatum vs Markelle Fultz
These two players won't be matched up against each other in the game for the most part, but they are always going to be compared. When Danny Ainge traded the #1 pick for the #3 pick and passed on Fultz, who was the consensus top pick, in order to take Tatum, it assured the fact that these two players will be scrutinized and compared for the rest of their careers. Keys to the GameDefense
- The Celtics' defense was better than expected in their first game against the Hornets. They have the potential to be a very good defensive team and they need to work hard to live up to that potential. Defense wins games, even in the preseason.
- The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team and go after all the loose balls, and aggressively go after rebounds, and be aggressive on defense. They also have to be aggressive in taking the ball into the paint. The more aggressive team will usually get the benefit of the whistles. The Celtics need to work to get back to being the tough and aggressive team they were last season. Move the Ball
- The Celtics had beautiful ball movement in their first game and they need to work at doing the same in this game. Hero ball rarely wins games and so they have to consistently move the ball and play together. If they build those habits in the preseason, it will make them that much tougher to beat when the games count. Focus on the Road
- The Celtics are a young team and at times young players struggle to stay focused when playing on the road. This is their first road game and so they need to focus on playing Celtics basketball and not on the distractions of playing on the road and in front of a hostile crowd. X-Factors
It's Preseason - Winning isn't always the top priority in preseason games. Coaches are going to experiment with lineups and try to sit their stars as much as possible to avoid injury before the season. So, we need to enjoy watching them play and be glad that real basketball is almost back.