BOSTON -- For the second straight game, the Boston Celtics delivered an emphatic preseason win. This time it came at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers who were crushed 118-72 by Boston.
As you might imagine by the final score, there were a lot of things - a lot - that went Boston’s way.
Here’s a look at what did work, didn’t work and what’s next for the Celtics during the preseason.
Big Man Challenge: We’re three games into the preseason and when it comes to figuring out who will be Boston’s starting center, it appears as though it’s a two-man race between Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III. Theis has been the starting center the last two games, and has played well; well enough to where he has to be seen as the odds-on favorite at this point to be Boston’s opening night starter at center. And if Theis starts, look for both Williams and Kanter to see action off the bench. The odd man out at this point appears to be Vincent Poirier who has seen limited action. As for Tacko Fall who recently signed a two-way contact with Boston, look for him to spend most of his time with the Maine Red Claws in the G-League.
Stevens assist to Cavs coach: John Beilein decision to leave the college game for the NBA was based in part on conversations he had with Brad Stevens who made a similar jump to the league in 2013. The two talked about Stevens’ first year in the NBA which Beilein recalled Stevens described as, “a bit of a blur.” But when the talked following Steven’s fourth NBA season, he told Beilein that, “he was just having a blast right now. I understand the rhythm now.’”Beilein readily admits he isn’t there yet. “That’s what I have to do; I have to get a rhythm about me, about how this all sort of works,” he said.
Celtics Youth movement: With the score being so lopsided, the Celtics were able to go deep into the bench and play lots of players which included all their rookie draft picks. All of them stepped on to the floor and did something positive for the Celtics, albeit coming against Cleveland which is solidifying its place as one of the worst teams in the NBA this season.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Cavs roster: I know it’s a preseason game and you don’t put too much stock into the outcome, but what happened on Sunday was an embarrassment on every level imaginable. Cleveland probably won’t be as bad as we saw on Sunday, but it’s pretty clear that this is going to be one of those seasons when double-digit wins for Cleveland might be more of a goal and not an expectation this season.
(Not enough) Tacko-Time: Sure, Brad Stevens eventually put Tacko Fall into the game (Tacko had four points and two rebounds in seven minutes) on Sunday against Cleveland. But when it comes to the Tacko-maniacs out there - and there are many - it was once again not soon enough. Stevens has done a solid job of balancing that desire from fans who want Tacko Time all the time, and still doing his due diligence to get reps for the guys on the team who actually have a legit shot at playing a solid to a significant role for the team this season. It’s working for Stevens? For Tacko nation? Not so much.
Good defense or bad opponents?: It’s hard to get a true read on where the Boston Celtics defense is right now. They blew out an Orlando Magic team that played without their best player (Nicola Vucevic) while doling out minutes to guys who probably won’t be in their regular rotation. And in beating down Cleveland, Cavs fans better get used to it. Because even at full strength, Cleveland will still be among the worst teams in the NBA this season.
The Celtics close out their preseason slate of games on Tuesday at Cleveland, with the regular-season opener at Philadelphia on October 23.
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