Celtics

Celtics

Preseason or not, it’s hard to find too much to gripe about following Boston’s 124-91 thumping of Olimpia Milano on Tuesday.

That is, unless you’re Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens who had no problem finding areas – that’s plural not singular – for which his team needs to improve upon heading into the NBA regular season.

“We’ve got plenty of good film on being late on rotations or being fortunate they missed a shot … we can get better from it,” Stevens said. “That’s the benefit of playing these teams. They really stretch you with their skill.”

And while winning is always a good thing, Stevens’ sights are more locked into the process of improvement and not the team’s point total this time of year.

Boston will continue to pursue making positive strides when the Celtics face Real Madrid on Thursday, a game that will present a significantly greater challenge than the one they faced in Milan.

Real Madrid is the defending Euroleague champion and have been to the Euroleague Final Four each of the last three seasons.

Their current roster features an assortment of players with NBA experience as well as highly regarded prospects such as 6-foot-10 center Guillermo Hernangomez who was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round (35th overall) of last June’s NBA draft, and had his rights later traded to the New York Knicks.

As Stevens noted, doing a better job of rotating defensively will be important if they are to come away victorious against Real Madrid.

“Their skill is outstanding,” Stevens said of Real Madrid. “They make you pay if you’re late.”

And if you pay close attention to these preseason games against European competition, don’t be surprised if you see similar sets run by the Celtics this season.

“It’s beautiful basketball,” Stevens said. “Just like we’ll steal from other NBA coaches, I’ll be stealing ideas from the coaches we’re coaching against and the systems they run.”