Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. On Sunday, the Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors, 76-75, in an exhibition.
Wins and losses aren't important when it comes to preseason games, and that fact is well known. Even with that tidbit in mind, it's always encouraging when a team wins a game. The Celtics were able to do just that on Sunday afternoon in their preseason opener against the Raptors, winning 76-75 on a game-winning bucket from Greg Stiemsma with 12 ticks left.
Boston has now assured itself of at least a .500 record in the preseason (by virtue of there only being two preseason games). No, the preseason has no bearing on the regular season, but there was plenty to take away from the win.
Marquis Daniels Is Back And Better Than Ever
If you are a fan of Marquis Daniels, or quality basketball in general, then you liked what you saw from Daniels on Sunday. In 27 minutes, Daniels was the team's second-leading scorer with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and had three assists and two rebounds. In two unofficial games, Daniels has shown that he hasn't really been bothered by the spinal cord injury that sidelined him for the second half of last season. Daniels also did well in the C's open scrimmage on Friday night at TD Garden, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Daniels was starting in place of Paul Pierce, who is continuing to recover from a bruised right heel. Daniels is the No. 2 option after Pierce at the small forward position, especially with Jeff Green being sidelined for the entire season due to an aortic aneurysm.
We've only seen very little of Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox wearing Celtic green, but what we've seen so far has been very encouraging. Bass has shown impressive range for a player his size and a nice scoring touch and general versatility. In the win over Toronto, Bass finished with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting with five rebounds. In the scrimmage, Bass had 13 points and five boards. As for Wilcox, he has shown a similar scoring touch, totaling seven points against the Raptors and a game-high 17 points in the scrimmage. Both will likely spend time at the 4 and 5, with the C's lacking a true backup at the center position, and are looking like they may be the additions of the year by Danny Ainge.
Kevin Garnett Is His Same Old Fiery Self
The day Kevin Garnett isn't pumped up about the sport of basketball is probably the day he'll retire. Night in and night out, KG is into the game -- even a preseason game like this one. Garnett, who finished with nine point and a seven rebounds, was really pumped up after Stiemsma's game-winning bucket, and it came in a game that didn't even count. So far, Garnett has looked like he's ready for another productive season leading the C's under the boards and in the intensity column.
Rajon Rondo, Guards Have Their Ups And Downs
Passing was definitely one of the best things to take away from this game. The Celtics had 18 assists and moved the ball extremely well in the early stages of the game. Rajon Rondo had eight assists in 27 minutes and made some of his usual passes that are only possible for him. There were certainly bright spots in the passing game, but there were plenty of blotches, too. The C's had 15 turnovers, with the guards accounting for nine of them. Rondo turned the ball over twice and Allen gave the ball up four times. Keyon Dooling, who only made 1-of-5 field goals in 18 minutes, coughed the ball up twice as well. Turnovers are to be expected in any team's first game back, but keep an eye out for sloppy ball handling. You'll certainly see a lot of it in the early stages of the season.
Bottom Line: Overall, the Celtics had plenty of bright spots in this win. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett seem like they haven't missed a beat, Rajon Rondo continues to make prolific passes (which is all they really need him to do at the moment) and Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox and Marquis Daniels have all shown flashes of strong play that will hopefully carry over into the regular season. As far as first games are concerned, this was a solid start for Boston.
Next Up: The Celtics (1-0) return home to TD Garden for their preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors (0-1) at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet New England and aired on the WEEI Sports Radio Network.