at Philadelphia 76ers (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
Regular Season Game #1, Home Game #1
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
8:00 PM ET
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 97.5 The Fanatic
TD GardenProbable Starters
PG Kyrie Irving ........... SG: Jaylen Brown
C: Al Horford
SF: Gordon Hayward .............. PF: Jayson Tatum
BWA (Bench with Attitude)
Marcus Morris Sr
Jabari Bird (not with team) outHead Coach
Brad StevensProbable Starters
PG: Ben Simmons ................. SG: Markelle Fultz
C: Joel Embiid
SF: Robert Covington .............. PF: Dario SaricSixers Reserves
Landry Shamet Injuries
Jerryd Bayless (knee) out
Wilson Chandler (hamstring) doubtful
Zhaire Smith (foot) out Coach
Brett BrownGame Notes First of all, this game thread is very early and some of the information may not be correct by the time the game comes but we are directly in the path of a category 3 hurricane and I may or may not have power before October 16 to make the game thread then. So please bear with any errors as I am hurrying to get this up before the storm gets here.
The Celtics had a very forgettable preseason, winning just 1 of 4 games. Brad Stevens said that they made progress in practice, but didn't show it in games. They have had 10 days off since their last preseason game and hopefully can get enough practice in that those habits will carry through to this game against the Sixers.
The Celtics should also have had time to get healthy and will likely start the 5 players that they started in the first game last season and also in the first preseason game this year. However, with that lineup, Gordon Hayward is still finding his basketball conditioning after the injury that kept him out of all but 5 minutes of last season.
The Sixers are starting their same 5 from last season with the exception of Markelle Fultz starting at shooting guard in place of JJ Redick. The Sixers fared better than the Celtics in the preseason with a 3-1 record, including a couple of games in China against the Dallas Mavericks.
Since this is a week early, the injury lists may not be accurate by game time as some players may be injured in practice leading into the first game. As of now, it looks like Jerryd Bayless (knee) and Zhaire Smith (foot) will be out for the Sixers and Wilson Chandler (hamstring) will be doubtful. Although Gordon Hayward (back), Kyrie Irving (ribs) and Al Horford (wrist) missed the last preseason game for the Celtics, I expect them to be ready to start in this one. Key Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Ben Simmons
The 6'10"Simmons will have a distinct height advantage on pretty much any point guard, including Kyrie Irving. Kyrie should be healthy and will have an advantage on the offensive end and it's not clear whether Ben Simmons has found the courage to shoot a three pointer this season. If the Celtics can keep him outside it should help to slow him down.
Al Horford vs Joel Embiid
Embiid is a tough cover for any of the Celtics who are matched up against him. I'm assuming that Brad may start Al against him, but he may surprise me and start Baynes, who matches up fairly well with Embiid. Again, the Celtics need to keep Embiid away from the basket where he is less effective. They especially need to keep him from running the lane for open dunks. Honorable Mention
Jayson Tatum vs Markelle Fultz
I know that these two players won't be matched up against each other in the game, however since they were traded for each other on draft day, there will always be comparisons and watching the two players to determine who actually won that trade. Last year, there was no question that Tatum was the better of the two with Fultz missing most of the season, but this year, Fultz looks ready to play and so the comparisons will begin again. Keys to the GameDefense
- Defense wins Championships. The Celtics were the best defensive team in the league last season, but they didn't even resemble that team in the preseason. Hopefully, the Celtics found their defense in practice and will find away to make it continue into the games. They have to play tough lock down defense if they want to be contenders this season. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team and go after all the loose balls, and aggressively go after rebounds, and be aggressive on defense. They also have to be aggressive in taking the ball into the paint. The Celtics need to be the hardest working and toughest team on the court. We know that the Sixers will be aggressive and play hard and the Celtics need to match their effort. Rebound
- The Celtics need to crash the boards as they can't score if they don't have the ball. They need to grab the defensive rebounds to limit the Sixers second chance points and they need to crash the offensive boards to keep the Sixers from getting fast break points and in order to give themselves extra shots. Play the Right Way
- The Celtics need to move the ball and play as a team on both ends of the court. They have to move the ball and find the open man and not lapse into hero ball. They have to play tough team defense and trust each other on both ends of the court. They have to attack the basket if their 3's aren't falling. Most of all, they have to play with extra effort and focus. X-Factors Home Game
- The Celtics are at home and will get a boost from the home crowd. Hopefully the crowd can rattle the young Sixers as well. The Garden should be loud and give the Celtics that extra push they need to get the win. Officiating
- In the preseason the referees seemed to call a lot of fouls and teams were having trouble getting used to the officials calling some things tighter than they did last season. Hopefully the Celtics can adjust and not have all of their players in foul trouble in the first quarter.