Sunday, October 7, 2012
W2W4: Celtics vs. Emporio Armani
By Chris Forsberg
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Boston Celtics wrap up their European vacation Sunday afternoon by visiting Emporio Armani at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan (noon ET on CSN, NBA TV). Here's what to watch for:
Jason Terry and the Celtics jetted to Milan for Game 2 of their European adventure.
* VALUE THE BALL: Colleague Greg Payne already hammered home what the Celtics did wrong during Friday's loss in Turkey. Nothing was more egregious than the turnovers. Put it this way: When a team shoots 50 percent from the floor and outrebounds an opponent, it should win by double digits. The Celtics gave away the ball -- and the game -- against Fenerbahce Ulker. Yes, it's just the preseason -- the first game no less -- but considering the early camp emphasis on limiting giveaways, the Celtics have to make valuing the ball the No. 1 focus moving forward.
* MAINTAINING THEIR MOMENTUM: Both Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger were terrific in the preseason opener; now they've got to show they can produce consistently. Green undoubtedly had some extra juice playing his first NBA game in more than 16 months, while Sullinger made his rookie debut (non-summer league edition). Both have potential to be key contributors off the bench this season, but it starts with being able to show that level of consistency that Boston's bench has sorely lacked in recent seasons.
* EYES ON THE 15TH-MAN BATTLE: Jamar Smith got first crack in game action to make a case for a roster spot, logging 12:20 of floor time in Friday's opener. He connected on 1-of-4 shots with two points and two turnovers. Let's see if Rivers gives Dionte Christmas (6:32 of floor time) or Kris Joseph (4:34) a larger chunk to distinguish themselves on Sunday. Two of those three players are likely to make the final roster, but showing an ability to impact the game in limited floor time will certainly aid their chance of securing a spot (and prevent Boston from toying with the idea of carrying anything less than 15 bodies).
* LOOSE BALLS: The Celtics won the battle on the glass against Ulker with Sullinger and Darko Milicic (combined 14 of 37 rebounds) doing the heavy lifting. Boston did do a nice job of spreading out the boards, but let's see if the likes of Green and Brandon Bass continue to show renewed aggression on the glass. ... Jason Collins didn't get off the bench in the exhibition opener, but his veteran legs might not need much action to be ready for his defensive-specialist role. ... Boston's reserves combined for only four assists Friday. It's going to be interesting to see who generates scoring opportunities and handles the ball when Rajon Rondo is off the floor. Jason Terry has shown he can both create his own offense and dish the ball off the pick-and-roll, but Rivers said the team will try to run offensive sets that don't rely heavily on point guard action when Rondo is out of the game.