Here are some notes on the first half of the Boston Celtics' first preseason game against the Toronto Raptors Monday evening:
Vitor Faverani looks very effective on defense and also on the fast-break (who would've thought he can run the floor!?). El Hombre Indestructible slid his feet well on D, contested most drives in his direction and spaced himself perfectly when the C's had numbers (he logged two points, two steals, two rebounds and one block in his first five minutes). Kelly Olynyk can pass the ball! The rookie phenom made a couple sweet dimes, including a crisp dish to Faverani in traffic on a 3-2 fast break. Also hit Jared Sullinger on a perfect entry pass under the basket, and hit Courtney Lee on the numbers for a threeball during a swing-around on the perimeter. It's not often a seven-footer leads a team in assists (four) for a half... wait, is that a good sign or a bad sign!? Avery Bradley continues to ramp up his offensive self-assurance. He has made midrange pull-up jumpers off screens his bread-and-butter, and it's refreshing to see him so certain of his shot. He is, by no stretch of the imagination, the leader of this backcourt—and quite possibly the entire offense—until Rajon Rondo returns. Expect him to relish the role, at least from a physical standpoint. If he becomes more vocal, he could just emerge as a budding star by next summer. Courtney Lee looks as confident as he ever has been in green. He seems set for a bounceback year under rookie coach Brad Stevens. He drove the ball, asserted himself in transition, and played solid D. Kris Humphries still embodies the role of “hustle player.” He runs the floor hard and fast, he helps on defense and shows consistent man-to-man range and he rebounds as effectively as any Celtic. He obviously has a pretty smooth stroke for a banger, too (his jump-hook needs some polish, though). He even took a charge, something that had become pretty rare the past year and a half around here. He's a promising addition, regardless of the large contract. Best yet, he gets along with the majority of his teammates. In his first ten minutes of action, Gerald Wallace looked like he hated everything and everybody. Then he ripped down a rebound, ran coast-to-coast, dropped a nice inside-out dime to Jordan Crawford for a three and went back to take a charge. Gotta love that three-play stretch, and the efficient two-of-three shooting for seven points. Still, it's difficult to imagine this miserable-looking man spending the entire season with this squad. Avery Bradley looks a bit rusty on defense. Got beat badly on a backdoor screen midway through the second quarter—you don't see that very often. At times, the play got a little sloppy. As expected, especially with a young team full of fresh faces, certain frames got a little messy on both sides of the floor. They did force 16 turnovers in the first half but also allowed over 60 percent shooting and trailed an otherwise lowly-looking Raptors squad.