Celtics

Celtics-76ers preview: Irving and Fultz face off in Philly

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Celtics-76ers preview: Irving and Fultz face off in Philly

BOSTON – For years Kyrie Irving was the ridiculously talented youngster, a basketball savant with the ball whose basketball handles were straight out of some video game’s cheat code.

And these days, the young man on the come-up, Irving, is now the target of just about every point guard coming into the NBA.

Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz is the latest up-and-coming point guard who will put their skills to the test against Irving, the 25-year-old point guard who ranks among the most decorated players in the league.

“It’s fun,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston. “It comes in cycles in this league. That’s the luxury of being a basketball fan. You get to see generations of guys come in.”

And with each generation, there’s that fine line that exists between potential to be great and the reality that it won’t happen nearly as quickly as the player – or the team that drafted him – wants. 

When I asked Irving about the one piece of advice he would give a young player coming into the NBA, he said that’s easy. 

“For a young guy, you just have to stay patient,” Irving said. “Understand you have other guys in this league that have been through what you’ve been through. We’re one phone call away. Although we’re competitive M-Fers, I love offering help to as many young guys as I can, and just knowing the intent is to help them out.”

  

BOSTON (1-0) at PHILADELPHIA (0-1)

 

Time: 7 p.m.

 

TV: NBC Sports Boston

 

Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

 

 

Key matchup: Boston’s Kyrie Irving vs Markelle Fultz

 

First round picks of the past (Irving) and present (Fultz) will duel it out tonight for at least a quarter of play. Irving looked rusty in his debut earlier this week with the Celtics (9 points, 4-for-11 shooting), so a better game seems likely. As for Fultz, he made his first shot in Philadelphia’s preseason opener against Memphis. But things just got progressively worse before he finished with a not-so-great 4 points on 2-for-13 shooting. Irving has been schooling his Celtics teammates most of the preseason, and Fultz will likely get similar treatment tonight. 

 

Key Storyline: Joel Embiid’s health

 

He resumed 5-on-5 basketball for the Sixers on Thursday, the first time he has done that since he had season-ending surgery on his left knee back in March. With that said, look for Embiid to see some preseason action as a tune-up for Philly’s regular season opener at Washington on Oct. 18. Ben Simmons had a strong first game (six points, seven rebounds, nine assists with one turnover) for the Sixers, but they need Embiid desperately to get back on the floor and play if they are to come anywhere close to reaching their full potential.

 

“Quote-Unquote”

 

“I gotta be the tough guy on the team, the protector. Knocking my guys down, I can’t have that. It’s gonna be my role to be the bully and I accept it.” – Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris.

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.