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Practice report: The Celtic way

10.11.10 at 3:42 pm ET
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It was a half hour or so after practice had concluded and Kevin Garnett was finished with his customary individual workout. As he looked up from his own efforts, Garnett saw Semih Erden going through the paces on pick and roll defense. Garnett called over to assistant coach Kevin Eastman and asked him to, “get Luke,” as in Harangody, the Celtics other rookie big man.

Dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Garnett gathered the two together and began a tutorial as only Garnett can. He wanted them to talk loud. No, louder. Let there be no doubt which way they were showing, Garnett told them in no uncertain terms.

Erden had been too quiet on Sunday against the Raptors, and in one instance he let Rajon Rondo get steamrolled by a screen. The lesson took no more than 10 minutes and left little time for pleasantries or niceties. That’s just fine with Harangody who relishes this kind of attention from Garnett.

“He’€™s not really yelling,” Harangody said after the Raptors game. “He’€™s teaching. I like that, to be honest.”

“He helps the ones he likes,” Doc Rivers said. “Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn’€™t listen to him one time, he’€™ll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That’€™s Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you’€™re pretty much there. Everything he does and says is about the team.”

Garnett’s little demonstration was a perfect example of the “Celtic Way,” for lack of a better phrase. It has been standard operating procedure around this team since Garnett arrived with Ray Allen and set about with Rivers and Paul Pierce “changing the culture,” to use another over-worked cliche.

“It’s not for everyone,” Rivers said.

Take Nate Robinson, for example. It’s not that Robinson was a bad teammate or a bad person when he joined the Celtics. It just took him a little time to get used to how the Celtics do things.

Rivers began to notice a change in Robinson during practices last season in the playoffs. He was starting to do the things that the coaching staff asked of him: pressuring the ball, moving it on offense. It was then that Rivers made a fateful decision.

“I said it two or three games before we actually played him,” Rivers said. “I think Nate has bought in. I think Nate’€™s ready to be a Celtic. He has been ever since.”

On a coaching staff that believes in tangibles, understanding the Celtics Way is a bit of an intangible phenomenon.

“I know it when I see it,” Rivers said. “It’€™s our speed. It’€™s unselfish. Being a Celtic is, every decision you make is about the team. Every cut you make is about the team. Every pass you make is about the team. You take yourself out of it, then you’€™re probably a pretty good Celtic. It’€™s not for everyone. If you don’€™t want to win and you don’€™t want to play team basketball and it’€™s more about you then you’€™re probably not a good Celtic.”

PRACTICE NOTES: Shaquille O’Neal will not play Tuesday in Philadelphia. The Celtics have four games in five days and Rivers said he would try to get most of his players some rest. Delonte West (back spasms) and Jermaine O’Neal (hamstring) are scheduled to play. No word yet on when rookie Avery Bradley (ankle surgery) will make his debut.

Glen Davis said he was fine after taking a “hand slap to the face” Sunday against Toronto. Davis left the game with gauze stuck up his nose to stop the bleeding.

In the portion of the practice that was open to the press, Robinson was able to block a shot by Jermaine O’Neal. It was a foul, but still it was an impressive bit of athleticism by one of the best athletes in the NBA.

“That’€™s what separates him from most of the small guards that have played,” Rivers said. “Muggsy [Bogues] had a good body as well, but he couldn’€™t jump. Spud [Webb] could jump, but didn’€™t have the body. Nate has the combination.”

Read More: Kevin Garnett, Luke Harangody, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden
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