W2W4: C's vs. Knicks (Preseason Game 7)
October, 20, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Elsa/Getty ImagesThe Celtics and Knicks joust again on Saturday night in Albany, N.Y.The Boston Celtics close out their eight-game preseason slate with a back-to-back that starts Saturday night against the Knicks in Albany, N.Y. at the Times Union Center (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
* OPERATION UPRIGHT: The Celtics are expected to hold out veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for rest purposes, while Brandon Bass (knee) and Darko Milicic (wrist) will also sit as a precautionary measure. With the final exhibition game of the season looming Sunday back in Boston, the Celtics' primary goal the next 48 hours is to get in some work and keep everyone healthy. Expect some different lineup combinations tonight as Rivers gets one last chance to play mad scientist given the short roster. For the Knicks, the plan was to hold out Amare Stoudemire after he played his first preseason game Friday against the Raptors.
* A CHANCE FOR JOSEPH: Coming off his best preseason effort (11 points in 12 minutes), Kris Joseph could get extended action Saturday, particularly with Pierce being held out. The rookie second-round draft pick, who appears to have secured the 15th and final roster spot, showed some of the potential that set him apart from Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith during Thursday's win in Brooklyn. Let's see if that confidence carries over to Saturday's game.
* CLEANING UP PICK-AND-ROLL: The Knicks gashed the Celtics in the pick-and-roll when they met for the first time this preseason a week ago. Even with a depleted cast, Boston can see if they've cleaned up some trouble spots over the past few games. New York operated with smaller lineups in the first meeting, which Boston would be fine with seeing again given the fact that Garnett and Milicic will sit out.
* LAST CALL FOR INVITES?: Though they could see time in the exhibition finale Sunday, this might be the last real opportunity for camp invites Micah Downs and Rob Kurz to make an impression (one that probably won't help them muscle into a roster spot in Boston, but could help them land on someone's radar, whether it's another NBA squad or an overseas option). The Celtics do have the ability to assign camp cuts to Maine of the D-League as affiliated players. It's a low-money option, but one that could keep a camp body in the system with a longer chance to prove themselves in the minors (all without the hassle of moving overseas). Rivers previously said final cuts would come at the end of Boston's exhibition slate and likely before the team dives into seven days of practice leading up to the season-opener in Miami.