A hectic real world settles down for all of us tonight.
It’s a late-September Friday night and Boston Celtics basketball is back. Here are a few things you can look forward to while you sip on a cold Octoberfest.
Marcus Smart won’t be there
He’s away from the team for personal reasons. No further details have been given.
No one will play much…
Everyone is going to be limited to about 20 minutes, which is not unusual for the first preseason game. Everyone who is available and healthy will likely play some.
… and you shouldn’t expect much
Remember, this is the first preseason game. We are all excited that these guys are back, but we’ve just spent months hearing about how freaking awesome these guys are.
They probably won’t be awesome tonight.
There will be rust, there will be timing issues, there will be times where some guys will want to work on specific things rather than take advantage of holes in the defense.
During the regular season, these guys will be good enough to freelance. Right now, it’s about figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s about a bunch of that shit-ton Brad Stevens has put in and trying to find strengths and weaknesses in it.
So the experimenting will be very high, the lineups will get very weird, and we’ll quickly be reminded that this process is only just beginning.
What I’ll be watching for
- How is Gordon Hayward moving?
Yes, I’ll be looking for explosiveness, but I’m mostly looking for any sign of apprehension. I’m looking for signs of any mental obstacles in his recovery. We’ll all go nuts if he dunks off his left leg, I want to see how he acts against contact or in a crowd.
- How is Kyrie Irving moving?
Now this is all about explosiveness. He says his knee is good and it gives him a lot of confidence around the rim. Let’s see if that materializes.
- How is Al Horford playing?
Is he mostly facilitating? What shots is he taking? With only 20 minutes we won’t know exactly how it translates but I’m wondering if there are early signs of how he’s going to play and be used.
There are a lot of other things to watch for, but again, 20 minutes per player isn’t much to get a sense of much. Kyrie and Hayward will give us pretty immediate answers, but how players like Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will play might not be as readily available. I’ll still be watching for those things too, but I’m just not expecting many answers just yet.
In case you didn’t realize the scope of the Duke-UNC rivlary
This game is being played in the Dean-dome on the campus of the University of North Carolina, sworn arch-enemy of the Duke University Blue Devils.
Here’s how our resident Dukies showed up to work today.
I fall on the UNC side of this rivalry, but I respect the hell out of this move. Fly your flag and be proud of it.
Basketball is back my babies… raise up a toast tonight and let’s get to work!