Playing at a relatively fast pace was not a problem for the Boston Celtics last season.
That’s another story.
But three games into their preseason slate of games and the Celtics seem to have broken free of their offensively-challenged ways to score a bunch of points regardless of what continent they’re playing on.
Wednesday’s 109-105 was Boston’s third straight preseason win in as many games, with each game involving Boston scoring at least 100 points.
And what makes Boston’s preseason run so impressive, is that it’s not the same player scoring in bunches every night.
It makes the challenge of defending the Celtics all that much greater.
“For the most part, I thought we did a lot of good things,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Here’s a look at some of the stars, studs and duds from Wednesday night’s game.
Making his first start of the preseason, Johnson was a dominant force at both ends of the floor. Defensively, you expect him to provide some much-needed rim protection for Boston. But few envisioned his offensive game having the kind of diversity he put on display Wednesday night. He led all Celtics with 19 points to go with six rebounds in about 24 minutes of court time.
He too was making his first start of the preseason, and Thomas didn’t disappoint. Thomas didn’t waste much time reminding us why he’s considered Boston’s most dangerous weapon offensively – he can get buckets; lots of buckets. But with the first unit, Thomas had to showcase his playmaking skills which he did on Wednesday as he finished with seven assists.
No Marcus Smart (illness) or Terry Rozier (knee) meant Turner would continue in the role he served last season as Boston’s primary playmaker. Turner had a solid night with 10 points to go with seven assists and five rebounds. Making the assists numbers even more impressive was he only committed one turnover.
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s to come for the regular season, but the Celtics have to feel pretty good about what they have seen thus far from Hunter. Although he is best known for his 3-point shooting, he continues to display an all-around game that has more to do with his basketball smarts than anything else. He had 11 points on Wednesday which included back-to-back 3s in the second quarter that helped the Celtics push their lead to double figures after a brief Brooklyn run.
Sullinger continues to fight an uphill battle to solidify a spot in the Celtics’ big man rotation, and Wednesday’s performance certainly didn’t help matters. For starters, he missed seven of his eight shot attempts from the field. He played just 12 minutes and finished with twice as many fouls (4) as rebounds (2). There’s still plenty of time in the preseason for Sullinger to turn around his fortunes in terms of playing time. But three games into the preseason and things are not looking good for the fourth-year big man.