The next time the Boston Celtics take the floor, they'll be playing meaningful basketball.
Boston wrapped up an impressive preseason on Thursday night, suffocating the Charlotte Hornets en route to a 127-99 victory. It was the best all-around preseason effort we saw from the Celtics, whose 22 steals would have set a franchise record had the game counted.
Even with a brand new roster, Boston looked in sync, averaging 116.6 points while winning four of its five preseason games. The Celtics saved their best offensive performances for last, scoring 123 points in a victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday before Thursday's finale against Charlotte.
Getting their first minutes in a Boston uniform, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday stole the spotlight — and rightfully so — but a number of others truly made lasting impressions that could lead to a significant role in the rotation during the regular season.
Of course, there were also a couple of players who struggled, leaving president of basketball operations Brad Stevens with some potentially tough decisions to make over the coming week as he finalizes the 15-man roster.
Just six days away from the regular-season opener, let's take a look at some of the winners (and losers) from the preseason:
Winner: Kristaps Porzingis
Preseason averages: 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists
As emotional as it was parting ways with Marcus Smart, one look at Porzingis playing alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and it's easy to see that it was the right move.
Due to the attention that Tatum and Brown draw, opposing teams have to treat Porzingis as a third option, allowing him to create his own offense with little resistance. He was extremely efficient in the preseason, making 54.1 percent of his shots from the field while canning 9 of 18 3-pointers (50 percent).
Porzingis flashed a little bit of everything over the past two weeks, establishing himself as a rim protector, a threat from both the paint and the perimeter and a monster on the glass. If he can stay healthy, Porzingis is in line for the best season of his career.