Celtics Have Plenty to Gain Against Knicks Despite Stars Not Playing Regular Minutes


Kevin GarnettThe Celtics know that Saturday's preseason game against the Knicks in Hartford, Conn. is going to be very different than their pair of exhibition games overseas.

Boston split their international tour — losing by six points in Turkey and winning a 30-point blowout in Italy — but had to adjust to different players, rules and playing styles. Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger has yet to appear in a game with NBA players, but knows that Saturday's game will be a test.

"It's going to be a lot different," Sullinger said at the team's practice facility on Friday. "Obviously in the Euro style the four man's more of a shooter. Going against the Knicks you got a couple bangers down low so it's going to be a totally different game."

Some of those "bangers" that New York features include Amar'e Stoudemire and the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Both are top-tier defenders in the NBA and Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is looking forward to getting a glimpse, even though they may not be playing significant minutes.

"Teams don't play their guys a lot, but they do run their new actions so we can learn a lot about what they're trying to do," Rivers said.

Rivers has been hesitant to play a couple of his star players this preseason, especially Kevin Garnett, who only saw 27 combined minutes of floor time in Boston's first two matchups. Garnett didn't see as much time as he will once the regular season starts, but did notice the caliber of talent on Fenerbahce Ulker and AC Emporio Armani Milano.

"Playing against the NBA talent, no disrepect toward international basketball, but NBA talent is top of the line, grade A, five star," Garnett said.

There's no doubt that Garnett and the rest of the Celtics will see some five-star talent on Saturday when they take on the Knicks.

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