Toronto Raptors (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
TD Garden, 7:30 p.m. on CSNNE
Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Curtis Blair, Kane Fitzgerald
Line: Boston -4 (188.5)
PG: Avery Bradley
SG: Courtney Lee
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Jared Sullinger
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Demar DeRozen
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Louis Williams, OUT (Kidney)
Rajon Rondo, OUT (knee)
Jared Sullinger, PROBABLE (back)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
· A new era: The Celtics will begin a new season tonight, after trading away Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and coach Doc Rivers in the offseason. It marks the first time Boston will begin the year without the combination of those three since 2006, the year before they went out and traded for Garnett.
· The absence of the truth: Paul Pierce is officially a member of the Brooklyn Nets. The former Celtics captain was drafted in 1998, and played 15 consecutive seasons with Boston prior to this season.
· The debut of Brad Stevens: Tonight marks the first time the Celtics have taken the floor without Doc Rivers at the helm since the 2003-04 season. Former Butler coach Brad Stevens will get his first crack at an NBA preseason game tonight after coaching for six seasons with the Bulldogs. He had a 166-49 record during his time at Butler, and guided his squad to five NCAA tournaments and two Final Four’s.
· Life without Rondo: The latest on PG Rajon Rondo is that he will be sidelined until early December while he rehabs his knee, and Boston needs to find a way to cope without him for the time being. While Avery Bradley figures to command the role as the starting ball handler until Rondo’s return, it will be interesting to see who takes over the role as the backup. Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, and rookie Phil Pressey figure to vie for the spot as Bradley’s backup.
· The Celtics currently enter the season with seven new faces: Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Vitor Faverani, Kris Humphries, Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, and Gerald Wallace.
· Brad Stevens cautioned fans to not read too much into the preseason lineups on Sunday, saying that he will be trying out various different combinations prior to the start of the regular season.
· Jared Sullinger is set to return tonight. It will be the first live action the forward has experienced since Jan. 30.
The Celtics will have some early bumps in the road, but will take the first step to trying to form a cohesive starting lineup. Jeff Green leads the Boston scoring attack early, and the C’s mount a big enough lead to hold on to this one.
Boston Celtics 94, Toronto Raptors 89