October 17, 2012

Former Red Claw cut before Celtics fall to Nets

Jamar Smith, who played in Portland two years ago, fails to make the team as a backup point guard.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Courtney Lee, Mirza Teletovic
click image to enlarge

Courtney Lee, hoping to make a good first impression on Celtics fans in Boston, heads to the basket against Mirza Teletovic of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Associated Press

Jeff Green, Carleton Scott, Andray Blatche
click image to enlarge

Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics heads to the ground Tuesday night after driving against Carleton Scott, left, and Andray Blatche of the Brooklyn Nets. Green scored 14 points in a 97-96 loss.

The Associated Press

CELTICS OPENER

WHO: Celtics at Miami Heat

WHEN: 8 p.m. Oct. 30

TELEVISION: CSN, TNT

BOSTON - The dancing leprechaun and back-flipping male cheerleader nearly bumped into each other during a timeout routine.

But hey, it's only the preseason. These guys need time to work together.

And speaking of your Boston Celtics

Boston is still working in its new pieces and it showed Tuesday night in a 97-96 loss against the Brooklyn Nets.

Paul Pierce showed he can still light it up with 29 points in 27 minutes, including 6 of 8 3-pointers.

The Celtics shined in parts but also looked disconnected. Consider that the Nets didn't play their five projected starters, all of whom played considerable minutes Monday.

The loss matters little. Boston led 93-83 when its end-of-the-bench subs came in with 3:57 left.

But the Celtics know they can do better.

"The more we play together, the more we practice we're going to build that chemistry," said guard Courtney Lee, one of the new players being melded in.

"For the most part we played pretty well. There are still things we have to correct."

The Celtics' roster was two shy as they made their first cuts of the preseason, releasing former Maine Claws guard Jamar Smith and guard Dionte Christmas.

Lee, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard obtained from Houston in a three-team trade in July, complemented point guard Rajon Rondo, partnering in fast breaks, driving to the basket and taking jumpers. He scored 13 points and recorded four assists.

"You got Rondo, you got K.G. (Kevin Garnett), you got Paul (Pierce). You know they are going to draw a lot of attention," Lee said. "That makes my job a lot easier."

There were other bright spots, including forward Jeff Green (14 points) and rookie forward Jared Sullinger leading the team with nine rebounds.

But the Celtics were outrebounded, 41-35.

 

JAMAR SMITH played for the Red Claws in 2010-11 and the team still has his NBA D-League rights. But it's not known whether Smith will go to Portland -- now the sole affiliate of Boston -- or seek a bigger paycheck in Europe.

The 6-foot-3 Smith played four games in the preseason, totaling only nine points and two assists. Christmas totaled 13 points and three assists.

"Two good kids," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "Both played hard. Just really came down to numbers. We didn't have enough room.

 

RIVERS HAD HOPED either Smith or Christmas would stand out as a backup point guard. Neither did.

Rivers allowed that Boston might look to pick up another guard who could fill the role but quickly qualified that: "Every team is always looking. If nothing comes, does that bother us? No.

"We can't forget that Avery (Bradley) is coming back (in December from shoulder surgery). When you count Courtney Lee and Jet (Jason Terry) and Avery, all three are ballhandlers. None of the three are pure point guards but they certainly can play together."

 

NOTES: Rivers did not come out for the second half. Assistant coach Armond Hill said Rivers told him that preseason is for coaches, too, and that he was to run the team.

Although Rivers joked earlier about leaving to watch the presidential debate, Hill said Rivers watched the second half on the locker room TV. Center Darko Milicic sat out with a mild left wrist injury. Rivers said Milicic would also miss Thursday's game in Brooklyn and then play Saturday against the Knicks in Albany, N.Y. .

Forward Chris Wilcox remains out with back issues. Wilcox said the pain is gone but "I'm just waiting for the strength to catch up with my conditioning." The Celtics' only other home preseason game will be their last one, Sunday night against the 76ers.

One of the loudest cheers came when the Tigers-Yankees score was flashed on the video board, with Detroit up 1-0.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

 

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