|Photo: Associated Press|
In a game where both teams combined for 40 turnovers, the Celtics outscored their opponent in the second half and closed out the preseason by beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 81-65. Marcus Smart's 10 points and Jared Sullinger's 14 rebounds led the charge, as the Celtics finished the preseason with a
The Celtics held the lead comfortably throughout most of the game until the end of the second quarter, when Philly cut the lead to three heading into halftime. The Celtics then opened up a 12-point advantage in the third quarter and never looked back. 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor notched 12 points and eight rebounds for Philadelphia. Jerami Grant scored 11 points to go with his 6 rebounds and Nerlens Noel had eight points, nine rebounds.
Sullinger finished the preseason on a high note, pulling down 14 rebounds and scoring eight points. He was also cheerful on the bench -- on his feet, encouraging his teammates after every big play. The Celtics grabbed a lot of boards against Philadelphia last night. Amir Johnson snagged 13 and Kelly Olynyk had 12. But it was especially nice to see Sullinger active around the glass. After a lukewarm start to the preseason, Sullinger has momentum heading into the regular season.
Jordan Mickey also finished his first NBA preseason strong. He managed to chip in 10 points and 4 rebounds in just 12 minutes.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens looks like he may have his rotation set for the regular season -- for now at least. There's a good chance that last night's starting lineup of Smart, Bradley, Jae Crowder, David Lee and Tyler Zeller is what we're going to see next Wednesday at TD Garden. While Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner and Amir Johnson will be the first ones off the bench.
For the second night in a row, Sullinger put together a strong performance, one that should improve his chances of cracking the regular season's rotation. Sullinger and Olynyk will most likely round out the playing time at the start of the season.
The Celtics pulled down a game-high 67 rebounds -- 18 of which were offensive boards. Although the C's committed 17 turnovers, their second half serge was enough to knock off the 76ers at Manchester, N.H.