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Celtics Finish First Week 1-2

Boston finished the first week of the 2015-16 season 1-2, beating Philadelphia in the season opener but then dropping consecutive outings to the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. Let's recap the games and see where the Celtics succeeded and struggled.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The first month of the season is going to be a gauntlet for the team in green, but they got a break to open the season when the lowly Philadelphia 76ers were scheduled for the season opener. It wasn't easy in the first quarter as Philly finished with a 26-21 lead, but Boston got hot from the field in the second quarter, getting the typical huge boost from Isaiah Thomas off the bench and they led 51-40 at the half. Isaiah Thomas wasn't the only Celtic off the bench to step up; Jared Sullinger continued his strong play from the preseason, finishing the night with 12 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. Marcus Smart had a good night overall as well, finishing the night 13 points, five assists, two rebounds, two steals, one block, and he was a +22 for the night. Boston expects Smart to make a big leap this season and this was an impressive start for him.

Sixers rookie center Jahlil Okafor was very impressive, leading the Sixers in scoring with 26 points while picking up seven rebounds and two blocks. He did have eight turnovers, a very high number for a post player that doesn't handle the ball as much as a guard would. Massachusetts native Nerlens Noel also had a strong night, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in a losing effort. It is clear that Philadelphia does have talent, but with just the young bigs, it is going to be difficult for them to win a lot of games this season.

Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder also finished in double figures with 15 and 14 points, respecitively. Boston finished the night with 31 assists to Philadelphia's 12, a large discrepancy and a sign that the Celtics will continue to move the ball. Philadelphia doesn't have the guards to be able to hang with the guard-heavy Celtics, and that was obvious in Boston's win on Wednesday.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 112, Sixers 95

Friday, October 30, 2015 vs. Toronto Raptors

Truth be told, I don't even want to re-hash this game because the Celtics were awful. Turnover, turnovers, and more turnovers was the story of the night as the Celtics hung around for a half but got their doors blown off in the second half. It is pretty clear that it's going to take time for this team to gel and the hope of playing 10 men per night might be a pipe-dream because it will be so hard to gain some contuinity with lineups. Boston needs to play better against division opponents if they truly plan on winning the Atlantic this year.

Isaiah Thomas led the way again for the Celtics, finishing with 25 points and seven assists; Thomas is instant offense and he's going to end up leading this team in minutes, regardless of being a starter or not. Boston did have four players in double figures (Olynyk, Johnson, Zeller, Bradley) but they lost the battle on the boards, 53-38, and that ultimately was a killer for the Celtics. Raptor starters Demar DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll each finished with over 20 points, but the star of the game for the Raptors was small forward Terrance Ross, who finished with 21 points on 8-12 shooting in just 21 minutes of play. The Celtics had no answer for him and he was able to help the Raptors build a huge lead that put Boston away.

Final Score- Raptors 113, Boston 103

Sunday, November 1, 2015 vs. San Antonio Spurs

There are some games that appear on the schedule that are just automatically written up as a loss, and Sunday's showdown with the Spurs absolutely falls into that category. One hope Celtics fans had was that the Spurs are getting acclimated to life with LaMarcus Aldridge, but a team as talented as them shouldn't have a lot of trouble figuring things out. Boston, who was coming off an ugly loss on Friday, really needed to go out and compete for an entire game and prove to themselves that they could hang with the NBA bigboys.

San Antonio jumped out from  the start, holding a ten point lead at the end of one and extending it to 13 at the half. Although Boston was down double figures and still turning the ball over too much, they were hustling and competing as hard as possible. Boston woke up in the third quarter, cutting the lead to ten and setting themselves up for a chance to make a fourth quarter run; they did just that. The Celtics got the Spurs lead down to four twice, but they simply couldn't get past that and the Spurs made their end-of-game free throws to finish off the 10 point victory. Boston is struggling to hit shots, and Sunday was the worst display of the week; this trend needs to end quickly or it could be a rough opening month due to an extremely difficult schedule.

Final Score- Spurs 95, Celtics 87

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