The loudest cheers from the TD Garden crowd came when the JumboTron showed highlights of the Red Sox scoring runs in their World Series opener across town.
As for the team playing in front of that crowd on Wednesday night, well, the Celtics gave them something to cheer about too, as they closed out their preseason with a 101-97 win against the Brooklyn Nets.
The win gave the Celtics a 2-6 preseason record and a few positive vibes as they take the next several days to practice and prepare for the regular season, which starts Oct. 30 against the Raptors in Toronto.
“We have to become better in a lot of little things,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “They are adding up when we’re not, so we’ve got to make sure that we really, really drill down on the important things this week.
Rookie center Vitor Faverani was the star Wednesday, with 15 points (6-of-9 shooting), 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks in 28 minutes, his best performance of the preseason and further evidence of why he’ll earn significant playing time — perhaps as a starter.
“For a rookie out there, I thought he looked pretty darn good, even albeit an old one,” Stevens said, referencing his 25-year-old Brazilian center.
Forward Brandon Bass also looked sharp with 16 points. Avery Bradley scored 16, and Gerald Wallace was his steady, hard-playing, versatile self, coming up with 14 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Jeff Green added 12 before leaving the game with a stinger on his left elbow that, Stevens said, shouldn’t affect the forward moving forward.
Even backup point guard Phil Pressey dazzled the crowd with a few impressive passes. Pressey is the only healthy true point guard on the roster and could see minutes if only for that reason, but he has shown himself to be capable, too.
Overall, it was a balanced scoring effort, and that’s how Stevens sees the Celtics this season.
“I think that’s who we are,” he said. “I think that’s who we have to be. I think obviously guys are very capable on any given night and guys are very capable of being consistent, but we’ve got to be more of a collective unit than individuals.”
But the win itself also came against a less-than-half-strength Brooklyn squad that didn’t play All-Stars Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez — or former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. So, it’s a win that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Pierce and Garnett had made the trip to Boston, but neither attended the game, nor for that matter did Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck.
Instead, Grousbeck sat in John Henry’s owner’s box at Fenway Park, watching the St. Louis Cardinals get pummeled, which is what happened to Grousbeck’s team for much of the preseason.
There are still questions about the Celtics, questions that have existed since training camp began and that have not really been answered since.
■ Can Bradley and Jordan Crawford be effective sharing point-guard duties while Rajon Rondo recovers from knee surgery?
■ Is Green ready to take on the role as “the guy” for this team and fill up the stat sheet every night?
■ Can all these new parts mesh under a new coach who’s installing a new system?
Those issues aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, either.
But, for Boston, there is time now before the first regular-season game to iron out a few kinks.
“I wouldn’t call any of our lineups definitive — as definitive as I’d like. But I think we’re moving in a good direction playing together, Stevens said.
“It’s going to be a day-by-day process. Anybody that gets bored with the process will be bored pretty quickly, because that’s the way it’s going to have to be with this group.”
But, according to rookie forward Kelly Olynyk, the Celtics have made progress, even it could only be considered baby steps.
“When we started camp, nobody knew each other,” he said. “I think the biggest difference is that we are starting to come together better as a team.”
Rondo, who hasn’t played since last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, also said he sees progress in this team, which he’s viewed from the bench.
“Besides the Minnesota game, we’re getting better,” the sidelined All-Star point guard said, referring to the Celtics’ 104-89 loss to the Timberwolves Sunday in Montreal.
Rondo, who isn’t expected back this month and until perhaps December, added, “Guys are still learning the rotations, but they are very open, so we continue to grow and keep an open mind, we’ll be better off than a lot of people expect. I’m looking forward to the challenge, myself . . . You can never underestimate a guy’s heart.
“We have a lot of guys in the room that are up for that challenge, and I’m sure we’ll be willing.”