C's comeback falls short in preseason loss to Knicks

C's comeback falls short in preseason loss to Knicks
October 9, 2013, 10:30 pm
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New Celtic Gerald Wallace keeps an eye on the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony in the C's second preseason game.

(AP Photo)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Celtics lost another preseason game, but this team's identity is slowly but surely coming to the surface.

This is not a championship-caliber team.

Still, they are proving early on to be a competitive bunch, regardless of how deep a hole they dig for themselves.

Fans saw that Wednesday night when they rallied from a 23-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead, only to have it snatched away in the closing seconds by Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. - with his dad in the stands - who drained a baseline jumper with less than 10 seconds to play to give the Knicks the victory at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

New York committed a non-shooting foul on MarShon Brooks which gave the Celtics the ball out of bounds with less than five seconds to play.

Chris Babb, whose three-point shooting was instrumental in the Celtics' comeback, had his driving lay-up attempt blocked. He finished with 12 points in less than eight minutes of playing time.

As much as coach Brad Stevens wants success, seeing improvement in his team's play is also important.

After getting slaughtered on the boards against Toronto, they actually outrebounded New York, 36-33.

Prior to the game, Stevens made a lineup change with Gerald Wallace in for Jeff Green while Jared Sullinger got the start in place of Kris Humphries.

Stevens has been saying all along that he would be mixing and matching rotations to get a better feel for what works and what doesn't.

Not surprisingly, such an approach with a team full of new faces and many veterans in new roles learning a new system, has had mixed results.

Wallace got off to a fast start for Boston, scoring seven of the team's first 11 points before finishing with 10 points.

And Sullinger, who had a strong performance against Toronto coming off the bench, had six points and six rebounds on Wednesday.

Boston also got a huge lift from rookie Phil Pressey, who had 13 points and seven assists.