HARTFORD -- The Boston Celtics traveled to Connecticut to play their third preseason game on Saturday. In spite of having two under their belts, it was their first match up against another NBA team after playing against European squads during their recent trip overseas.
Following a loss to Fenerbahce Ulker (Instanbul) and a win against Emporio Armani Milano (Italy), the Celtics fell to the New York Knicks in overtime, 98-95, in their return to the United States. Regardless of the end result, it beneficial for them to get back to NBA action.
"Obviously the Knicks are better than both the teams we played," said Rajon Rondo. "They have All-Stars and great players, so it was good to get out there and compete with a team you know you're going to go against at least six or seven times throughout the season."
For some players, this game was just another preseason match against their Atlantic Division foes, a team the Celtics frequently play each season.
"It's basketball," said veteran Brandon Bass. "It's the same."
But for the rookies on the team, the Knicks were the first NBA faces they saw in their careers. The difference between players in this league and overseas was noticeable for them.
"I got to play a little bit and I kind of got a little nervous in the game," said Fab Melo. "I think the pace is a little slower but the explosion is really fast. And they make shots, they cut, they drive all the time, so you've got to be alert all day."
The Celtics will play their next preseason game on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers. The following night, they will hit the parquet for their preseason opener at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets.