Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

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Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by mulcogiseng on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:12 am

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Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams' defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned
By Tom Westerholm | twesterh@masslive.com | Posted on October 6, 2018 7:18 PM | Updated October 6, 2018 7:23 PM
The Boston Celtics finished off a tough preseason on Saturday, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-101 in their final tune up before the regular season.

Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were both out, and after the opening minutes (and the opening conflict), the game had a very pick-up feel to it.

Still, here are 10 things we learned, starting with the most important one.


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1. Marcus Smart needs to make better decisions (but still).
On the one hand, Marcus Smart needs to be a lot smarter than his altercation with J.R. Smith. He should recognize that the Celtics need him active. They need him defending at a high level, taking charges and occasionally running the offense. They need him setting the tone for a team that -- if preseason is any indicator -- absolutely needs the tone set.

On the other hand, you kind of feel for him for going after J.R. Smith a blood lust after 1) everything he has gone through this preseason and 2) after everything Smith has pulled against the Celtics (even though Aron Baynes appeared to be mostly at fault). Smith’s history with the Celtics is checkered, generously speaking.

- He decked Jason Terry with an errant elbow in 2013.

- He concussed Jae Crowder with an intentional elbow in 2015, leading to an ACL sprain.

- He pushed Al Horford from behind in mid-air last year in Game 2.

Here’s Smart post-game after the Horford play in the postseason: "That's a dirty shot. You can't allow that to keep happening. That's not the first time JR has done some dirty stuff. He's known for it."

So yeah, we can probably expect more altercations whenever these teams match up.



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2. The Celtics need to find better ways to respond to cold stretches.
The Celtics' starters finished 1-for-8 from 3-point range. Add Marcus Morris, and the number bumps to 3-for-15. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

There are going to be times this season when the Celtics’ shooting abandons them. How they react to those cold stretches may determine whether they win or lose certain games -- can they defend well enough to keep themselves alive until they heat back up? Can they consistently get to the rim (and finish) to avoid falling too far behind?

The preseason isn’t a good indicator. Boston's stars and veterans know these games don’t count, and even if they understand the importance of gelling before the preseason, scrapping out of a 20-point deficit probably just doesn’t feel worth it to players who were last competing for a trip to the Finals.

But as Stevens says at least once or twice a week: If you don’t play hard in the NBA, you’ll get beat. The Celtics are incredibly talented, but they still need to play hard.


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3. Collin Sexton looked very good (again).
Sexton is feisty, competitive and athletic. Whether or not he lived up to his potential at the NBA level always felt like it was mostly tied to how well he shoots from three. In two games against the Celtics, that hasn't looked like a problem. Sexton has been hitting jumpers and running the show at a competent level, both of which bode well for his future.

The Celtics will always (correctly) feel like they won the Kyrie Irving trade because, well, they got Kyrie Irving. But Sexton looks like a nice piece for the Cavaliers, wherever this season ends up taking them.



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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by mulcogiseng on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:20 am

4. Robert Williams closes to jump shooters extremely well.
One developing subplot (which might come to an end for a while, now that the preseason is over): Robert Williams closes to jump shooters extremely well. He has excellent foot speed and agility to go with his vertical and wingspan, which allows him to eat up airspace in a hurry. That will make him a switchable option when he does get big-league minutes.

Williams spent a lot of time when the regular rotation players were in glued to the bench, so it remains to be seen how much regular-season basketball he will get to play. But he showed some really nice flashes in the preseason.

5. Guerschon Yabusele looked good throughout the preseason.
If you were one of Celtics Twitter's many Guerschon Yabusele admirers, this preseason was everything you could possibly hope for. After looking like a borderline NBA player for two seasons, Yabusele spent the preseason bodying opponents, moving his feet and demonstrating good court vision. His skill set is so unique, particularly given his bulk (Cleveland's broadcast called him "put together"), you can see what Celtics decision-makers liked when they drafted him in 2016.

It remains unclear if and where he fits on this team. Stevens played him almost exclusively with the third unit, and Boston just doesn't have a whole lot of space n the rotation, even for young players who are showing promise.

But still: The Celtics might have something besides just an extremely put together player in Yabusele.

6. Walt Lemon looked good too.
Again, he played essentially exclusively against third units, but Lemon is an excellent athlete with good vision and slashing ability off the bounce. Of all Boston's third-string hopefuls, the two-way guard may have showed the most in the preseason.

With Jabari Bird's tenure with the Celtics likely over, there may be a guaranteed roster spot for one of the guards currently on the training camp roster. At the very least, Lemon has made his case.

7. Jayson Tatum got crossed up.
This is the exact opposite of the LeBron post from last year. If your kids are Jayson Tatum fans, hide their eyes and destroy this footage.



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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by mulcogiseng on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:26 am

Sorry I give up. To read the whole article and look at the cool videos click the link
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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by bobheckler on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:48 am

mulcogiseng wrote:Sorry I give up. To read the whole article and look at the cool videos click the link


Mulcogi,

Thanks for posting this. Driving me crazy not being able to watch the game.


bob


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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by bobheckler on Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:04 am




bob


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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:28 pm

would have driven you crazier watching that slime ball JR Smith come off with a tech and remain on the floor.
Granted, there was no doubt that Smart was going to get tossed, but how long is the league going to put up with this guys disgusting play on the court. I don't care how good a shooter he is, he could be poison on that team and they may regret bringing him back.

So, Marcus gets a pass from me, someone has to stand up to a bully and he was it last night.

Onto these last four games. What a lackluster performance we have sat thru night in and night out.
Much to some chagrin from the Morris haters on this board, he was the most steady player on the floor.
Get your act together guys, it is almost time for games for real time.
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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by dboss on Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:04 pm

At least the preseason games are over.  I enjoyed the summer league games more.

I understand that this was just preseason.  A  lot of starters played spotty minutes and a ton of guys played.

Overall the Celtics have looked like a ragtag collection of unconnected parts.

What we learned from preseason only leaves question marks.

So my comments to follow about last night's game should be considered with an understanding about preseason games.  You really do not learn a lot from them.

Smart is a tough guy.  I like that about him.  Last night however he over-reacted to JR shoving Baynes.  Of all the players on this team, Baynes does not need an enforcer!

The two players that have looked most comfortable are Morris and Rozier.

I have been following our rookie Williams closely and even find myself thinking when are they going to put him in the game.  He has player very limited minutes.  Each game he has shown me something on defense.  He recorded two blocks last night and a couple of challenges.  His ability to block shoots out to the perimeter is a rare skill.  He obviously needs a lot of work on the offensive and defensive ends of the court but I do believe that he may be able to help the Celtics this year on the defensive end.

I have no sense about the rotation.  Terry, Marcus and Marcus are locks.  And it looks like Baynes will also join them.  But that may change.

Anyone of Theis, Semi or Yabu could get in the game as well as Wanamaker.  I think Williams will be on the active roster.

I'm ready for the season to begin
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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:08 pm

You have to remember, there is history there with JR, this will happen again and again, he baits guys and they bite.

So, once the decision comes down about Bird being let go, who takes the seat at the end of the bench, Lemon? He is a feisty guy, I have been impressed with his play. Or does he leave it empty for a while and see if he wants to sign some one (Crawford?). That would be my guess, that it goes unfilled right now. Lemon is signed as a two way player so he will end up in Maine a lot of the time.

I have wondered about the minutes being given to Theis. I wonder if he is a a minute restriction, he comes in late and does not stay out thre for any great length of time. He looks rusty to me. I think this week of practice will be beneficial for the guys.

You are right, I am so ready for this season to start and they better watch out because Philly is gunning for them!!!
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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

Post by swish on Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:27 pm

The 76ers should be in the mix this year - but with a ton of cap space available for next year - there best years are probably in the very near future.

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Re: Boston Celtics fall to Cleveland Cavaliers: Robert Williams defense, Marcus Smart's fight, plus 10 things we learned

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