BOSTON -- The Celtics’ usual starting five has been impressive thus far in the preseason.
And while we haven’t seen them on the floor in a week courtesy of a really spaced out preseason schedule and coach Brad Stevens giving most of them the night off in last Saturday's 104-86 win over Charlotte at the Mohegan Sun Arena, apparently the cohesiveness is just as strong.
Boston’s "White" team (the second unit) has come out on top of the starters earlier in the preseason.
Not so much.
“They look really good the last couple days of practice,” said Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, who plays primarily with the "White" unit. “These last couple games they’ve been really locked in and starting to mesh and play really well.”
Said Isaiah Thomas: “We’re starting to beat the second group a little more; that’s why he’s saying that. Things are starting to calm down and guys are starting to take the shots that are there.”
Thomas said one of the issues the starting unit had early on in practice was that they were trying too hard to play with one another by passing up good shots to try and get better ones.
“It kind of backfired on us early on,” Thomas said. “We’re playing unselfish, we’re playing together. We’re getting more comfortable with each other.”
The first and second units get another chance to do that tonight in a preseason game against the Nets at the Barclays Center.
Unselfish play is something all teams strive towards.
But like most things, too much of it does have a potential downside.
“That’s a good thing though, a team being too unselfish,” Thomas said. “It’s better to be unselfish than have a team of guys that are just looking for their own.”
That selfless play has fueled what has been an impressive across-the-board start by a starting five of Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson.
In the two games they have played together, each player has had a plus/minus of at least +12 in each game.
For the two games combined, Johnson (+30) has the lowest plus/minus among the starters which is still pretty damn good, while Horford leads the first unit with a plus/minus of +42.
Stevens has been pleased with the way his first unit has come together.
“It’s a good group,” Stevens said. “They complement each other well. I still think they’re learning how to play together. There will always be a little bit of an adjustment there. But they do have a contagiousness about them moving the ball which has been nice.”