Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

Good, bad from last night's Celtics preseason opener

WEEI
October 03, 2017 - 10:48 am

By JASON ROSSI

Last night the Celtics kicked off their preseason at the TD Garden vs the Charlotte Hornets. Both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward made their highly anticipated Celtics debut. Here was the good and the bad ...

UPS

1. Marcus Smart

The slimmer Marcus Smart started the game looking like Ray Allen 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. No one would confuse Smart's play with Allen, but the now longest tenured Celtic did look impressive with coming off the bench. Smart played 14 hard minutes with nine points, four rebounds, and countless muscle boxouts. 

2. ALL ABOARD! The New Zealand bulldozers hype train.

I'm your conductor Jason Rossi. Why do I love Aron Baynes already? Well, he is a fellow burger enthusiast, and he played like someone ready to seize an opportunity. Baynes started (which I don't see has his permanent spot), played 18 minutes, scored 10 points, five rebounds, but did get in early foul trouble. Baynes is a guy to watch and could be this season's Kelly Olynyk (and yes, that's a good thing).

3. EnTheising debut

The play of Daniel Theis, the second half hero (well, that's when he got his opportunity to shine) with blocks, baskets, and hustle, was a sight to be seen. Theis will likely get the most out of this four-game preseason and I would like to see him come off the bench earlier Friday night against the 76ers. Theis led the Celtics in scoring with 12 points and seven rebounds. Brad Stevens was impressed saying,  "He was quick to the rim, and we needed that. Getting behind on rolls, got his hands on a couple of balls and kept them alive, had the tip dunk at the end of the quarter of off the roll, and that's what he does best. He can shoot the ball, he can play in space, but he's very quick to the rim."

4. Smooth Operator 

Jaylen Brown's 2017-18 expectations were VERY high two months ago. But with the Kyrie Irving trade, things have simmered. That being said, he will need to take the "next step" for this team to be a true contender. The "Smooth Operator" showed his toes (not a foot, and barely two toes at that) making onto that "next step" last night.  Brown's smooth (yeah, you see I'm pushing the name) steal and lay-in during the second quarter and his electric third quarter slam are two plays that show signs of what's to come.


DOWNS

1. Kyrie's shooting

Call it nerves but Kyrie tossing up floaters wasn't his best look. Kyrie looked to be pressing and wanted to impress the Garden crowd. Now, is this a sign of things to come? Well, yes, but more good will come from Irivings pressing offense than bad.

2. Charlotte Hornets team

Let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that it's the Charlotte Hornets. I know it's been three years, but, damn, it feels good and a genre of kids can pull out their famous Starter jackets. Nostalgia aside, the Hornets are not a good team. They have some talented players and could be a playoff contender (in the weakened eastern conference) But as of today, YUCK!

3. Rebounding 

While the Celtics outrebounded the Hornets, 52-45, a lot of those came from the second unit and loose ball rebounds. Dwight Howard had a few second chances under the rim and he is well out of his prime. If Howard can still make plays under the rim, how can the Celtics play against the young and more aggressive (yet rare) big men in the league?

4. Starting 5

Last night's starting five: Irving, Brown, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Baynes

Why a down? It may be an overreaction, BUT this won't be your game in, and game out starting five. During Stevens' time in Boston, he has lacked solid starting lineup and this season will be no different. Playing the matchups is a great idea until the C's are down by few points early due to inconsistent chemistry to start the game.

@JasonDRossi​

Comments ()