Salih Zeki Sayar/Getty Images
The Celtics meet Turkish squad Fenerbahce Ulker Friday in Istanbul.The Boston Celtics open their 2012 exhibition slate on Friday afternoon by jousting with Turkish squad Fenerbache Ulker at the Ulker Sports Arena (2 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for in the first of two games on Boston's seven-day overseas adventure:
* LEE AND THE FIRST UNIT: It's unlikely Boston's starters will see too much floor time the first time out -- particularly against an unknown foreign opponent -- but Friday's game should offer our first glimpse of newcomer Courtney Lee with the first unit. With hefty expectations -- some want him to replace Ray Allen's offense; others want Avery Bradley's defense -- it will be interesting to get a glimpse of what Lee can offer at both ends of the floor alongside the four other returning starters.
* IT'S NOT SUMMER ANYMORE: Boston's rookies, including first-round picks Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, have essentially been locked in the team's training center since we got a sample of their potential at summer league in July. Friday offers a chance to gauge their development and whether there's potential for them to contribute this season. What's more, end-of-the-roster guys like second-round pick Kris Joseph and guards Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith will have game situations with which to distinguish themselves for final spots. Every minute of floor time -- even in an overseas exhibition -- is important for the younger players.
* BENCH MOB DEBUT: Jason Terry said he was embarrassed to learn that the Celtics scored a mere two bench points in a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals last season. He said that won't happen on his watch. Boston's revamped second unit should see plenty of floor time and most eyes Friday will be locked on Terry and Jeff Green, who is back on the floor after missing all of last season while undergoing heart surgery. Sprinkle in the Boston debut of well-traveled center Darko Milicic and most Celtics fans might be more intrigued for a look at the reserves than the starters.
* RESULT DOESN'T MATTER: Rivers stressed before the trip that progress won't be judged by wins or losses. The Celtics believe they have enough overall talent to win any game, but Rivers said he's liable to do something crazy -- like play zone the entire game -- because of the mixed international rules and lack of knowledge on their foreign opponent. Remember, this is the first of what Boston hopes is as many as 100+ games this season (8 preseason, 82 regular season, and then the playoffs). This is simply a chance for Boston to gauge itself after six days of training camp.