After last night's victory over Derrick Favors and the Nets, we head into the strange 5:00 start time against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics leading the NBA in point differential. If that's not an indicator for championship success in the immediate future, I don't know what is.
Jordan previewed the week nicely yesterday, but there's a thing or two I'd like to add. It's very easy to get excited over terrific performances by Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks. It's even easier to assume this will translate into wins during the regular season. I'm gonna ask you to pump the breaks on that one. Keep in mind teams are sending 2-4 roster players to Orlando, while the rest are scrappy fringe guys there on an open tryout, but more likely warm bodies to fill a few odd-numbered jerseys. Also, most summer league coaches are testing out new plays handed down from their head coach looking for something new. While things like positioning, awareness, and conditioning are good to see, it's best not to get too hyped after a few open shots. In the same vein, let's not jump all over Marreese Speights for a poor first game.
After the jump, check out some match-ups to look out for in tonight's game. Thread to come later.
Jrue Holiday/Oliver Lafayette
He of the juggernaut Fort Wayne Mad Ants has an impressive offensive game that will prove more difficult for Jrue defensively than the point guards the Nets threw at him. With Lafayette almost a lock to be a Celtics backup this season, I'm excited to see how Holiday performs against some better talent. While Jrue took it upon himself to be more of a scorer than distributor in game one, I'd like to see him involve the bigs down low more against a below-average frontcourt. Ollie also was named one of the Monstars in Scott Schroeder's day 1 review.
Celtics Three-Point Shooting
If you've followed the Sixers at all the past few years, you're as frustrated with the abominably bad three-point defense as I am. No team has seemingly hit more shots beyond the arc than the Celtics, starting with Antoine Walker, Rodney Rogers, Walter McCarty, and Paul Pierce, and more recently Ray Allen, Eddie House, and older Paul Pierce. While none of those guys (except maybe Walter) will be around tonight, JayCee Carroll, Matt Janning, and Luke Harangody should be. With Doug Collins' dedication to defensive pressure and hunkerdownness, it'll be interesting to see how Turner, Jodie Meeks, and hopefully more of Obi Muonelo get out on the wings to defend the outside shot.
Cedric Simmons/Artsiom Parakhouski
Ced made an impression in 15 minutes yesterday because of his length and athleticism. Art made a bigger one with 10 boards in just 18 minutes of PT against a legitimate Thunder frontcourt. While they're very different players, they are both fighting for roster spots in limited time and could be matching up with each other at the RDV Sportsplex. As Jordan noted, Simmons has had trouble on the defensive glass, and with Art as one of the best rebounders in the nation last year, he'll have his massive hands quite full tonight. Of the non-roster guys, Ced clearly has the best shot to make the team -- I'm pulling for him.
Final Game One Thoughts
- Trent Plaisted has terrific footwork and runs superbly for a big man. Aside from that, he's awful.
- Ndudi Ebi didn't play. Obi Muonelo got 7 minutes. WHATUPWITHTHAT?
- The announcers are horrendous. Knowing the rules helps sometimes. Come on NBATV, you know better than to Rick Kamla this B.
- I'm not entirely sure Vernon Goodridge exists. I'll let you know when I found out.
- Also, your daily dose of funk. I will be singing this the rest of the day.