Celtics vs. 76ers: Five things you probably aren't thinking about
BOSTON -- For the third time in as many games, you can expect the Boston Celtics to field a starting five that’s different than the previous two.
Coach Brad Stevens has already hinted he'll give some players the night off, to better ensure some of the team’s end-of-the-bench players get a chance to play and his core players are relatively fresh for the start of the season next week.
“There’s a good chance we’ll have some guys sitting,” said Stevens, adding that Marcus Morris would “probably not” play tonight.
The challenge faced by the Celtics and most NBA teams, is balancing the need for players to develop a good rhythm while not wearing them out.
"It’s just a matter of what we decide from a rest standpoint,” said Stevens.
Here’s a look at five things that you probably aren’t giving much thought to as these two teams gear up for a second preseason matchup.
ON THE REBOUND
The Celtics have consistently ranked among the worst rebounding teams in the league for years, and that's not expected to change much this season However, in the preseason Boston has done more than hold its own on the boards. The Celtics actually been among the best rebounding teams in the preseason, grabbing 53 percent of their available rebounds, which ranks eighth in the NBA. It's the kind of trend they hope continues into the regular season.
WELL-RESTED SARIC READY TO PLAY
Dario Saric has kept a very low-key profile after failing to appear in either of Philadelphia’s first two road games this season.
But the 6-foot-10 big man will get his chance to play tonight after the Sixers gave him ample time to rest after having played in EuroBasket this summer.
FULTZ AND CHIC-FIL-A
Markelle Fultz said all the right things when he visited Boston prior to last June’s NBA draft, a city that seemingly had everything he could want except one thing: A Chic Fil-A.
“It’s kind of like my good luck charm,” Fultz wrote in the Player’s Tribune in June about Chic-Fil-A.
“Boston has zero Chick-Fil-As,” wrote Fultz.
“Philly does have Chick-fil-A. It has six, actually,” he said. “Seven if you count the one at the airport.”
CELTICS MINUTES LEADER IS . . .
The preseason is a horrible barometer for determining how much or how little, a player will see action when the games matter. Still, it’s telling that the Boston Celtics’ leader in minutes played after the first two games is Jayson Tatum.
It is no secret that the Celtics are eager to get the 6-foot-8 rookie on the floor as much as possible. In the first two games, Tatum has averaged a team-leading 25.8 minutes per game, followed by Kyrie Irving (22.2) and Jaylen Brown (20.4).
NO ROOKIE OF YEAR HYPE FOR SIMMONS
Every year the NBA’s rookies vote on a slew of categories related to first-year players, with nba.com releasing the results. For a player taken with the top overall pick in 2016 like Ben Simmons, you would think that fellow rookies would make the choice to include in several categories.
For Rookie of the Year, he’s tied for fourth with Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and Jazz wing Donovan Mitchell with each garnering 5.7 percent of the votes. As for best career, 5.3 percent voted for him, teammate Markelle Fultz and Sacramento’s Harry Giles. Giles will be sidelined until January, according to published reports.