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UMass Media Relations

10.08.08 at 4:58 pm ET
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Sorry for the lack of posts, but a nice gentleman from the Mullins Center event staff just informed me that I, and a few of my media colleagues had to vacate our seats on press row because UMass awesomely sold them. Now, no one likes to hear the press complain about these things, but yeesh, this is incredibly bush league. Way to go UMass. Ok, we’ll get back to the game here in a minute.

Rotations

10.08.08 at 4:39 pm ET
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With 2:30 or so left in the first quarter, the Celtics have a completely new five on the floor. The lineup: Eddie House, Tony Allen, Darius Mles, Leon Powe and Baby Davis. Take it for what it’s worth, but that would seem to be the likely second unit for Doc Rivers this season.

Play was ragged on the offensive end, but Allen just blocked Wilie Green’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. That is exactly what the Celtics need from Allen this season.

First Impressions: Patrick O’Bryant

10.08.08 at 4:31 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo just pulled out his show the ball make the other guy look silly move to finish off a layup and a 16-4 run. The Celtics look ridiculously good right now. Of particular interest is Patrick O’Bryant who is in the starting lineup for Kendrick Perkins.

O’Bryant has generated some buzz during training camp, and at first glance he’s athletic and active, which is exactly what the C’s need coming off the bench. He’s an interesting kid. He was largely unknown before a strong NCAA Tournament run at Bradley put him on the radar screen. The Warriors took him in the lottery and then never played him, which happens a lot with players like that.

Before the game, Armond Hill was talking about how O’Bryant is working with Clifford Ray and getting a feel for how the Celtics want their big men to play. You get the sense that he’s got a long way to go, but he’s getting there. File O’Bryant under: intriguing.

Of Dunks and Frat Boys

10.08.08 at 4:14 pm ET
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Darius Miles, JR Giddens and Bill Walker put on a decent dunking exhibition during warmups. Got to give D-Miles top honors. There’s a decent crowd on hand tonight and they’re pretty jacked up, especially a vocal collection of backward-baseball hat wearing dudes. Brian Scalabrine gave them some dap.

Odd thing, the Sixers are actually the “home” team tonight but there’s not much Philly love at the Mullins Center. Since the Sixers are the home club, it fell to Louis Williams to say thanks to the crowd. He got a nice hand anyway.

Let the record show that the Celtics first basket as defending champs was drained by Kevin Garnett.

Live From Amherst

10.08.08 at 3:59 pm ET
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Greetings from scenic UMass. Who’s ready for some preseason hoops? The big news is that coach Doc Rivers is not with the team tonight. He is back in Orlando to attend a hearing regarding the high school eligibility of Adam Jones. The Rivers family recently became guardians of Jones who plays on the same AAU team as Doc’s son, Austin. Armond Hill (and Tom Thibodeau) is are running the team tonight in Doc’s absence, but don’t expect too much to change. The starters are expected to play about 24 minutes and expect everyone to get some run.

Sam Cassell is also not with the team tonight. He is in Baltimore attending to a family matter. It’s a good opportunity for Gabe Pruitt to show what he can do. The team seems high on Pruitt, the second-year guard from USC. I’ll be offering some thoughts and observations all night long, so check back early and often.

Don’t adjust your set…

10.08.08 at 3:54 pm ET
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Believe it or not, the Celtics are NOT the home team in their preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Mullins Center, despite playing this game just about 100 miles from Boston and in their home state.

The Mullins Center is where the preseason begins for the champs.

The Mullins Center is where the preseason begins for the champs.

That’s because the Celtics already have four other pre-designated ‘home’ preseason games, including two at the TD Banknorth Garden (Oct. 17 vs. NY, Oct. 19 vs. NJ), this Friday in Providence vs. Cleveland and Saturday night in Manchester, NH vs. Houston.

The Mullins Center is owned by the Comcast-Spectacor group, the same company that owns the 76ers and the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

And besides, how appropriate that the Sixers have a home game against the Celtics on the same campus where Julius Erving made a name for himself before Dr. J did with the ABA’s New York Nets and the NBA’s Sixers.

Dr. J and Larry Legend back in the day.

Dr. J and Larry Legend back in the day.

The Celtics begin the preseason without head coach Doc Rivers on the sidelines due to personal reasons while Sam Cassell is not with the team, tending to his grandfather who suffered a heart attack this week. The 76ers are without Kareem Rush, out with a left ankle sprain.

Keep on WEEI.com for updates from yours truly and colleague Paul Flannery throughout the night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dr. J, Juliius Erving

Preview: Celtics vs. 76ers

10.08.08 at 11:28 am ET
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The biggest storyline of tonight’s preseason match up between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers is the addition of Elton Brand. But while Brand makes the Sixers an instant threat to the Cs in the Atlantic Division, the veteran isn’t the only player the Celtics will have to keep an eye on. The 76ers have a duo of young talent with promising potential who impressed during summer league play:

  • Thaddeus Young: 12th overall pick in 2007 out of Georgia Tech … only 20, has enormous upside … gives the 76ers versatility with his ability to multiple positions … at 6’8″ could cause match up problems for smaller defenders … as a rookie showed maturity in 2008 playoffs (10.2, ppg, 4.5 rpg) against the experienced Detroit Pistons … shined at 2008 Las Vegas Summer League (18.8 ppg) and got the vote of confidence from head coach Mo Cheeks.
  • Marreese Speights: 16th overall pick in 2008 out of Florida … at 6’10″ 245 lbs. is a beast on the boards … ranked second in rebounding at Vegas Summer League (18.2 ppg, 10.2 ppg) … gives the 76ers more defensive depth on the glass, which is critical to their fast break running game … think Al Jefferson with more speed … could be dangerous once he becomes consistent at the line … Cheeks was happy with all-around summer performance and sees Speights learning from Brand this season.

Jason Smith rounded out the Sixers trio of emerging big men at the Vegas Summer League before tearing his ACL in August. WEEI has you covered tonight from UMass Amherst to see how the Celtics match up against Brand, Young, Speights, and the revamped 76ers.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Elton Brand, Jason Smith, Marreese Speights
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