Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
Kevin Garnett and the Celtics wrapped up exhibition play Sunday against the 76ers.BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 88-79 during exhibition play on Sunday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jeff Green (12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Rajon Rondo (12 points, 10 assists) each chipped in double-doubles as Celtics coach Doc Rivers shortened up his rotations and rode a seven-man core for three quarters in a losing effort. Philadelphia's Dorell Wright scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Nick Young joined the 76ers' bench outburst with 15 points. All seven of Boston's core rotation players utilized in the game scored between 8-12 points as part of balanced output.
The Celtics were down 10 entering the second half, but needed just 4½ minutes to tie the game. That stretch included three buckets from Brandon Bass, culminating with an 18-foot jumper to knot things at 53. The 76ers responded by scoring the game's next seven points and Boston really didn't really threaten the rest of the way despite a couple of charges. A Jeff Green reverse jam -- the highlight of the night for Boston -- made it a two-point game 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Celtics didn't generate another field goal for nearly 10 minutes before Sullinger's and-one drive to the hoop while running with an end-of-the-roster lineup (camp invites Rob Kurz and Micah Downs, and rookies Kris Joseph and Fab Melo).
WHAT IT MEANS
After playing six games in nine nights, the exhibition season is (mercifully) over. The Celtics finish the preseason slate 3-5 with Sunday's loss snapping a brief two-game winning streak. Boston, which trotted out a staring 5 of Rondo, Green, Bass, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett -- utilized only eight players through the first three quarters (Kris Joseph played sparingly off the bench, along with top reserves Courtney Lee and Sullinger). Jason Terry's veteran legs received their first night off of the preseason. Boston is expected to take Monday off coming off the back-to-back, but will have a full week to practice ramping up to the season-opener on Oct. 30 in Miami. The Celtics' biggest accomplishment this offseason: their core group of players emerged healthy and will hope to get some reinforcements back down the line in Darko Milicic (wrist), Chris Wilcox (back), and Avery Bradley (shoulders).