Confession: I’m getting sick of people completely dismissing these games as meaningless.
Sure, the final score means nothing. Crunch time tonight featured the end of the Celtics bench vs. the end of the Knicks bench plus Jason Kidd/Steve Novak. Not exactly a barometer for the future of Boston or New York.
But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t learn anything. We actually learned quite a bit. For instance:
- Micah Downs exists. This is also true of most of the Knick’s bench. I’m not totally convinced that Rob Kurz does, however.
- Beat writers and announcers HATE overtime in the preseason.
- Celtics Twitter is still inexplicably in love with Darko. I’m disappointed, you guys. I thought better of you.
Other things of note:
- Jared Sullinger can ball. Boston’s leading scorer and rebounder (tied with Rondo and some skinny dude named Micah Downs) with 14 and 7, Sullinger bullied his way past Steve Novak for much of the second half, converting in the post and from mid-range. He looked smooth and smart, and though his defenders weren’t elite, he showed a lot of encouraging signs.
- Jeff Green might be more helpful than we thought. Ok, yeah, Tommy needs to stop comparing him to James Worthy because that kind of hyperbole is the kind of thing that makes a fan base hate a player. When he’s talked up so much that he couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, he’s going to be a letdown. We shouldn’t let that happen with Green. What he CAN do is bring athleticism, energy and, from all accounts, a relentlessly positive attitude to the Boston bench. And in preseason, we are seeing that he can score. Maybe not as effortlessly as he scored against Fenerbahçe or Emporio Armani Milano, but he played out of the post and from the wing today, and he did well at both positions. As long as he plays within himself and contributes on both ends, there’s no reason not to be hopeful.
- Carmelo Anthony continued to torture the Celtics in his limited minutes, as did some random dreadlocked guy named Chris Copeland, who somehow dropped 21, including the game-clinching free throws in overtime. Watching Copeland was like watching a talented 2K12 player start a new MyPlayer mode and confuse the game’s announcers with his brilliance.
- Rondo still looked comfortable shooting jumpers, even though his percentage was down. He is still perfect from the free throw line during preseason, shooting 3-3 tonight. His stroke looks different, more confident. I don’t want to assume anything prematurely, but I think we can safely say that he is about to become the greatest athlete in the history of sport.
- Brandon Bass, however, looked oddly reluctant to pull the trigger on shots from mid-range. This was confusing, since Bass is one of few players who you would rather see taking mid-range jumpers than posting up. Presumably, this will get fixed.
- I could be wrong, but it seems like Garnett’s focused intensity would be nicer to see on the sideline than Carmelo laughing it up with his other teammates. As a rookie, I’d rather see my team’s superstars engaged, cheering me on and acting like the games matter (even if I know they don’t) rather than relaxing and laughing about the outcome. Maybe I’m wrong though. It’s possible Melo is helping keep his teammates loose.
So sure. We aren’t any closer to knowing who the top team in the Atlantic Division is, nor do we know how good the Celtics will be, or even whether they will be better than last year.
But dammit, you guys, we know who Micah Downs is. And that? That’s something.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.