BOSTON – It’s supposed to be a big secret whether Nik Stauskas will make his Sixers debut tonight in the season opener against the Boston Celtics, but it appears that the 6-5 shooting guard will be on the floor.
“I know what I’m doing tonight, I just can’t tell you guys,” said Stauskas after the team’s morning shootaround at Emerson College on Monday. “I feel like I could give 48 today. I don’t know how much they’ll let me, though.”
Stauskas suffered a right tibia stress reaction during the third day of training camp at Stockton University and hasn’t been a full participant in practice, yet. But he appears to be ready to lace them up against the Celtics at TD Garden, despite what the team wants people to believe.
“I believe he’s going to play, but that is not 100 percent official,” said Brett Brown. “I’m going into it thinking that we’re going to try to see him on the floor. He ran around a little bit today and we’ll monitor that right before game time.
“So far so good. But I have learned that you just don’t know. At the end of the day, whether it’s 22 games or 82 games, is he physical ready to go on a basketball court? If he does it’s going to be in a restricted environment, also.”
Three things to watch against Boston
1: Spacing by the Sixers. These two teams met on Friday in the last preaseason game for both. The Sixers lost 81-65 and the game was as ugly as the score indicates. The Sixers simply could do nothing at the offensive end, often time dribble too much, which either led to turnovers or forced, late-in-the-shot-clock heaves.
Often times the dribbling was in a crowd as Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor seemed confused of how to stay out of the way of each other and teammates. If Stauskas plays and contributes some outside shooting and somebody else can also drop some bombs, that could help open things up and improve the spacing Brown so craves.
2: Protect the basketball: There will be many turnovers by the Sixers just because of their lack of familiarity with each other. They simply don’t have a good read with one another due to the limited time on the floor together due to so many injuries.
They will play fast and it will look ugly at times. But when the game does slow down to the halfcourt and they do have possessions where they’ll have to execute, they’ll need to protect the basketball.
3: Rebound: If you want to run, which the Sixers do, then getting the ball off misses is the way to start it. Okafor and Noel should each be trying to reach the 10-rebound mark every game, and if they can do that it will go a long way to getting out on the break.
Also, they can’t give the Celtics second chances. In the final preseason game, the Sixers did a good defensive job in holding Boston to 81 points and limited it to 35 percent shooting. They did give up 18 offensive rebounds, however.