***Bojan Bogdanovic, whose NBA draft rights belong to the Nets, put together an exciting sequence in the early going. Having just knocked down a three, Bogdanovic came up with the ball off of a steal, turned down a lane to the basket, and confidently drained another triple. Bogdanovic is a 6’8 Croation who specializes in long-range shooting (3-9 today).
***Rajon Rondo went just 3-9 from the floor, but he made one of two three-pointers and confidently sunk all six of his free throws. As for his five turnovers, consider them an indication of his teammates’ rust. Darko Milicic and Fab Melo aren’t yet ready to corral Rondo’s creative dishes.
***Speaking of Darko, he actually played relatively well. Milicic recorded just two points on two shots, but he collected six boards, made some nice outlet passes, and earned himself an awkward high five from Kevin Garnett. In addition to the high five, he drew high praise from the likes of Mike Gorman, Donny Marshall, and Tommy Heinsohn. In all seriousness, Darko was probably the most talked about player during CSNNE’s broadcast of this game. It almost seems as if the Boston media believes they’re going to bring the #2 pick out of this guy. Give it a few months, guys.
***Fenerbahce’s chemistry was far, FAR superior to that of the Celtics. Outside of a variety of individual performances (which tend to steal the spotlight in meaningless preseason contests), this was the foremost of all my observations. As the Cs turned the ball over 25 times, Fenerbahce repeatedly converted backdoor cuts and pick-and-rolls into points in the paint. Surprisingly, each team recorded 17 assists. I would’ve guessed that Fenerbahce out-assisted the Celtics by a pretty good margin. Either way, Fenerbahce was the superior TEAM today. Not the superior collection of players, obviously, but the superior team in the sense that they played together much more effectively, which is precisely why they won the game. All of that being said, this was to be expected; the Celtics were playing their first game of the season while Fenerbahce was playing their fourth in as many nights.
***Jared Sullinger came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points and grab a game-high 8 rebounds. Impressively, 5 of those rebounds were offensive. From start to finish Sullinger showed an impeccable knack in the paint… clearly, he has the instincts to be effective around the rim. Brian Scalabrine lauded his “great feel” for the game, which comes as pretty high praise from a guy who’s always been considered a heady player. I’m sure Sullinger will still have to adjust to the bigger, stronger, taller forwards and centers who roam the paint across the Atlantic, but I think he ought to be able to make immediate contributions off the bench (Lord knows the Cs could use a guy that can grab an offensive board).
***One of Sullinger’s offensive rebounds came off of a Darko Milicic miss, a left-handed layup that hung on the front of the cylinder. According to the commentators, the Euro goaltend was legal in this game. Why, though? I mean, isn’t the NBA preseason all about preparing NBA players for NBA games? Why have them playing Euro rules?
***Fab Melo is Javale McGee lite. He drops passes, airballs two-foot finger rolls, and goaltends balls into the fifth row (he did all of these today, as a matter of fact). Even when he makes a great play—a beautiful block, for instance—his teammate ends up taking the ball and stepping on the sideline.
***Doc Rivers allowed Jeff Green to lead the reserve unit down the stretch, which resulted in a lot of successful right-handed takes to the rack. Apparently, Fenerbache couldn’t figure out that Green’s intent was to play like an inverse Lamar Odom. Anyway, despite Green’s valiant efforts (16 points), the Cs’ bench was unable to overcome a deficit that ranged from three points to double digits. Bo McCalebb’s penetration and Romain Sato’s shooting had been killing Boston all game long, so it was very fitting when a McCalebb drive led to a three-point Sato dagger that made it a six-point game with under a minute to go.
***Not only did Brian Scalabrine, my new favorite color commentator, have great chemistry with Mike Gorman, but he provided some fascinating insight in regards to the Celtics. For instance, Doc Rivers has an inbounds play called “high school.” Scal explained that this play involves every single player running towards the basket, and that Doc calls it “high school” because he saw it at one of his son’s high school games.
***Bo McCalebb is Euroleague’s leading scorer for a damn good reason—he’s explosive as f@ck. I’m telling you, when this man turns the corner it’s as if he’s been shot out of a cannon, and when he gets to the rim he elevates like a f@cking Jedi Knight. The fact that his athleticism stood out in a game that pitted him against Rajon Rondo… that says a lot. It doesn’t hurt that he’s extremely adept at splitting defenders, either. One would’ve needed a degree in mathematics to count how many times McCalebb sliced between two Celtics in pick-and-roll situations (it seemed to happen on every other Fenerbache possession). Although the aforementioned Sato led the way with 26, I thought McCalebb’s 21 on 9-14 made him the most impressive player of the game. Having seen him play a couple of times, there’s little doubt in my mind that he’s NBA material.