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Brandon Bass drives against the Knicks last season.The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks meet in an exhibition tilt at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
* GREEN DAY?: It was against these Knicks last season that Jeff Green had a monster playoff breakthrough. Many have wondered if Green could carry that late-season success over to the 2013-14 campaign where he's expected to be the focal point of Boston's offense. In Monday's preseason opener against the Raptors, Green finished with just six points on 2-of-7 shooting and was a minus-14 in plus/minus over 23 minutes. Asked about the absence of his aggressiveness in that game Green said, "It’s coming. I didn’t bring it [Monday], obviously, the way I played. It’s coming." Green admitted to seeing more defensive pressure on Monday and said, "It comes with being that guy, I guess."
* ON THE REBOUND: The Celtics were dominated on the glass by the Raptors, who finished with a 46-26 advantage overall. Rebounding is a concern for a team that lacks pure size up front. How does the team negate that? "I think that you've got to do the best you can do at getting guys off," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "I've always had a theory on rebounding and that was, you either hit and get or you hit and stay. Sometimes you just have to box out and let somebody else get it. There were a couple of good clips of that [Monday] where 4s and 5s blocked out and 3s and 2s cleaned it up, and I think that's going to have to be the case more often than not." Jared Sullinger led Boston with six boards on Monday, but no player on the team had more than three defensive rebounds.
* PRESS(EY) PLAY: After earning a DNP in his debut, Celtics undrafted rookie free agent Phil Pressey is expected to see a heightened role at the point guard position on Wednesday night. Jordan Crawford left the team due to a death in his family on Tuesday, while MarShon Brooks (a Providence College product) sat out part of practice due to a headache that leaves his status uncertain for Wednesday's game. Stevens said he'll go with a more scripted lineup Wednesday, but should continue to mix-and-match personnel while searching for combos that work well together (like the three-man combo of Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Gerald Wallace that thrived in Monday's preseason opener).
* DEFENSE IN FOCUS: The Celtics allowed the Raptors to shoot 52.1 percent from the floor Monday night and their defense was inconsistent overall. Asked about changes Boston can make on that end, Stevens said, "I think the biggest thing is just the way that we want to play and the way that we want to try to dictate to the opponent. We didn’t do a very good job of -- without getting too specific, it's just our positioning wasn't as good as it needs to be on and off the ball. Those are things that are, again, correctable, but it takes time. Even if it's something that guys have done before, it takes time to rebuild that. We've got a lot of guys from a lot of different places, and they’ve played in a lot of different places. Then we've got a new staff -- or a relatively new staff -- and it takes time to connected. We've got to try our best to all connect." The Celtics did limit the Raptors to 18.2 percent shooting beyond the 3-point stripe. Defending the arc will be important against the triple-happy Knicks.