Brad Stevens and his C’s started their NBA preseason in Milan against EA7 Olimpia, three years after their last match up (Boston Celtics 105-75 Olimpia Milano). The Celtics arrived following a first-round elimination in the 2015 NBA Play-offs (vs Cleveland), with a young but talented roster, while Olimpia Milano fell in the Italian Championship’s semifinals against Dinamo Sassari, but still the hosts could count on Alessandro Gentile and Andrea Cinciarini, two guards from the Italian national squad.
The warm up ended up in a Celtics dunk show for the Italian crowd; one that is not used to NBA stars and action. Windmill, reverse and through-the-legs slam dunks were offered by the youngsters, before the arena went crazy for Isaiah Thomas’ (5’9″/1.75 m) incredible jam.
Then the match started. Olimpia Milano got the first basket and that was the only time they found themselves in the lead. The Celtics shared the ball always looking for the extra-pass and a shooter in a better position. Former Golden State Warriors PF David Lee connected with his teammates beautifully, as he had a team best +22 on the floor, a great overall performance highlighted by 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Good job also from the PGs: Avery Bradley sunk 4-4 from downtown, while Marcus Smart led in assists with 6 and scored 11. Thomas and Sullinger had an impact from the bench: Isaiah scored 18, Jared grabbed 4 offensive rebounds.
Olimpia Milano couldn’t keep up with the Celtics pace, and trailed by 14 at the end of the first quarter. The three best on the Italian side were Alessandro Gentile, Charles Jenkins and Robbie Hummel. The 22-year-old SG scored 19 for his team, showing off his talent and demonstrating his future is bright – he could join Belinelli, Gallinari and Bargnani in the NBA in a couple of years. Jenkins and Hummel also went in double figures (14 and 12 points), as Hummel also collected 7 rebounds. Best in assists was Cinciarini with 4.
The match ended with a 33 point difference: Boston Celtics 124-91 Olimpia Milano.