After a great fourth quarter performance, the Boston Celtics barely defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in their first preseason game. The Celtics lost against the Knicks by a narrow margin the next night after frequently rotating their lineup and giving all the star players a night off to relax. Nevertheless, the team’s depth unquestionably shown its value in the process.
At this juncture in their preseason campaign, can the Celtics go 2-0 against their Eastern Division opponents and 2-1 overall?
The newly-extended Payton Pritchard has been the center of attention during these first two preseason games. In those two games, he amassed an incredible 47 points, five rebounds, nine assists, and four steals while shooting a reliable 55% from the field, 45% from beyond the arc, and 100% from the free throw line. Will Pritchard be given playing time? And can he stay in such great shape?
Payton Pritchard in 2 preseason games:
26 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 64% FG, 6 3PM
21 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 4 3PM pic.twitter.com/ZTIx9P3UN5
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 10, 2023
It’s difficult to predict whether Pritchard will start against the Sixers because, even though he started in their game against the Knicks on Monday night and has played superbly overall, all the usual names got a rest during that game, and I anticipate most of those names will make the starting five.
Jrue Holiday came off the bench for 21 minutes against the Sixers in their first preseason game despite not starting in any of the games so far. Holiday won’t be left out of the starting five this time around, and I anticipate he will start ahead of Pritchard since he didn’t start against Philadelphia and was one of the players who received a rest in the Knicks game on Monday night.
step 🔙 bucket pic.twitter.com/8QhEco4kqK
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 8, 2023
I believe it’s time to examine Holiday’s potential at Beantown Green in more detail. Holiday’s abilities on the court were just hinted at, but I know I’m not the only one who is eager to see more.
We played the New York Knicks in our second preseason game at Madison Square Garden against a frequently rotated lineup. I anticipated some lineup adjustments, but I wasn’t prepared for the rotation’s breadth.
Defense ➡️ Offense pic.twitter.com/NNKLdf88pb
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 10, 2023
The Celtics gave the Knicks a lot of trouble despite having a team that was constantly rotated, but they ultimately fell short, 114-107. Even though the Knicks won the game, there were still a lot of positives to take away from it, including disproving rumors that the Celtics lacked depth.
Pritchard, who has previously been highlighted, has so far been the most notable performer, but he wasn’t the only one to become well-known at Madison Square Garden. Dalano Banton exceeded expectations on Monday night, finishing with 20 points to rank second among Celtics scorers. He displayed remarkable strength and recklessness while attacking the hoop with his drive to the basket. Despite the possibility of a start, I anticipate that Banton will spend some quality time on the bench during the 76ers game.
In his 26 minutes against the Knicks, Svi Mykhailiuk also displayed a lot of promising traits, shooting 5/9 from the field (55.6%) and 3/7 from beyond the arc (42.9%). In the following game against the Sixers, I expect Svi to play more minutes, but I don’t believe the sharpshooter will start.
Jordan Walsh, a rookie, played for the Celtics for the first time, and although he didn’t have a scoring night like Banton or Svi Mykhailiuk, his defensive tenacity, which we had all been awaiting, was on full show. Walsh has already earned the hearts of Boston supporters, and I predict that he will get additional bench time against the 76ers. The Celtics’ second-round selection was unquestionably a bargain. 38th overall is looking like a complete steal after his outstanding performance in the Summer League and his performance against the Knicks.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Kristaps Porzingis
Will the Philadelphia 76ers make any adjustments after their defeat to start the preseason?
In their first preseason meeting, the 76ers gave the Celtics a hard-fought battle, and I anticipate that they will enter this game with the intention of winning. With that said, I’m expecting the Sixers to have a good starting 5, but there are a few unanswered issues. Will James Harden receive any playing time? Is Joel Embiid expected to show up?
When I created my expected starting lineups for the opening game, I did not account for the Sixers’ lack of Embiid. Could he have prevented their defeat to the Celtics? The game was really tight the whole time, so the reigning MVP could have made all the difference.
Embiid’s status for the Wednesday rematch with the Celtics has been listed as “Questionable.” Even though it is just preseason, a defeat to an Atlantic Division foe will always be painful, therefore if he becomes available, I anticipate seeing Embiids’ name put to their starting five immediately. Paul Reed will probably start again for the Sixers if he is still out.
James Harden and Joel Embiid are among the Sixers out for the team’s preseason opener Sunday night against the Celtics. https://t.co/8JqRKi8Dk1
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) October 8, 2023
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted Lineup
PG: Patrick Beverly
SG: Tyrese Maxey
SF: Kelly Oubre Jr.
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Paul Reed
So ready for this season ☘️
The vibes are through the roof 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yaBA2pZtnp
— Celtics Junkies (@Celtics_Junkies) October 9, 2023
Boston Celtics: Jay Scrubb – OUT (Torn ACL)
Philadelphia 76ers: Montrezl Harrell – OUT (Torn ACL)
Philadelphia 76ers: Furkan Korkmaz – OUT (Leg Strain)
Philadelphia 76ers: James Harden – Questionable (Personal)
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid – Questionable (Rest)
Philadelphia 76ers: De’Anthony Melton – Questionable (Rest)