|Turn up the volume: C’s not living in past||10.23.09 at 5:25 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Before this season ever starts, nearly everyone in a Celtics uniform wants to make one thing clear. This is NOT 2008.
On Friday, the Celtics held a two-hour practice before going home to get clean and ready for their team dinner Friday night in Boston.
Here’s what a number of them had to say about this year, comparisons to two seasons ago and other miscellaneous items.
|Baby Ok but Scal and TA doubtful for opener||at 5:18 pm ET|
Davis played 16 minutes last Sunday in Toronto, scoring nine points off the bench.
“Scal, his ankle, I don’t expect him to be ready for opening night, but I’m not sure yet,” Rivers said. “Tony is a definite ‘no’ but everybody else is good.”
|C’s going with later practices, shootarounds||at 4:54 pm ET|
This year, the Celtics are likely to do away with many shootarounds on the day of a game and move practices to a slightly later start in the day so that players can sleep in and be well-rested for games.
“Later practices are alright,” Kevin Garnett said on Friday. “It is what it is. Whatever Doc wants. It’s not my cup of tea but whatever the Captain wants that’s what it is.”
Garnett is a notorious early riser and has a reputation of functioning on little or no sleep, especially following road trips. Garnett, like Junior Seau with the Patriots, is known for getting to work early in the morning, getting warmed up and ready to go with practice.
Now, he’s likely going to be able to sleep in, at least a little.
“I don’t sleep anyway,” Garnett said. “It’s good. You’ve got to find good in everything so if that means I get to sleep until 8:30 or 9 [a.m.], then so be it.”
|KG on knee questions: ‘That [stuff] is getting old’||at 3:57 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kevin Garnett reached his breaking point on Friday afternoon with questions about whether he is physically ready and back to 100 percent following surgery last May to remove bone spurs behind his right knee.
“Next question,” he answered when asked.
But the question was asked moments later, in a different way.
“I just told you. That [stuff] is getting old, now. That [stuff] getting real old. You’re going to have to sit in your offices and come up with some new questions. Drink a little more beer now or whatever gets you going to come up with your questions.”
Told that he’s likely going to hear that same question all season long, Garnett replied, “You’re going to get the same answer, alright?”
Eddie House drew a comparison to another famous New England athlete returning from a knee injury.
“I’m very happy he’s back, he’s moving well,” House said. “He’s even taken a few blows to the spot where he had the surgery and he bounced back up. It’s kind of like the Tom Brady effect. At first, he’s kind of ginger. He doesn’t really know until he gets hit a couple of times. ‘I can plant, I can throw.’ Like Kevin, now he can catch lobs, can plant, step-backs. He’s doing everything Kevin Garnett does.”
|Doc: ‘We’re ready’||at 3:26 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers put his team through a spirited workout on Friday afternoon at the team’s practice facility, four days before the team opens the season on Tuesday in Cleveland against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Rivers said following the practice that he senses his team is geared up and ready.
“I like where we’re at,” Rivers said. “I’m very happy where we’re at. We’re going to add things all year. We’re ready to play. Even if I didn’t add anything else all year, I think we’re ready to play an NBA game.”
|Celtics hire Lue to their coaching staff||at 2:51 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics hired NBA former point guard Tyronn Lue as their Director of Basketball Development on Friday. He will assist the coaching staff and observe practices.
The 32-year-old Lue made his debut on Friday in Waltham as the Celtics prepare for their season opener on Tuesday in Cleveland. Lue played 11 seasons with seven different teams, including last year with Orlando. He won NBA titles in 2000 and ’01 with the Lakers.
|Celts Make it Five Straight||10.18.09 at 6:09 pm ET|
Marquis Daniels can do a lot of things on the basketball court. That’s a big reason why the former undrafed free agent has had a long and productive career as a role player.
Coming into the Celtics preseason game with the Raptors Sunday in Toronto, Doc Rivers figured to see just how many things Daniels could do on the court. He has already proven himself as a capable ball handler and backup swing man, but Rivers wanted to see him running the point and playing small forward for extended stretches of game action in the Celtics 101-82 victory over Toronto. (Click here for a recap).
Daniels was in the 3-spot for about six minutes of the second quarter when he ran with Rajon Rondo and Eddie House in the backcourt and Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace up front. The lineup had some rough spots offensively, but they were active and pesky on defense and Rivers may have found yet another combination to play with once the regular season starts.
There was talk of other more exotic lineup combinations, but few materialized Sunday. Instead Ray Allen and Rondo played 30+ minutes and Kevin Garnett checked in with a 21-point, 28-minute afternoon. The starters were in rhythm offensively in the first half, shooting 78 percent in the first quarter as Garnett and Allen combined to go 10-for-12 for 23 points.
The second half was more ragged, but all in all, it was another productive preseason outing for the Celts who have won five straight.
A few other observations:
Allen finds his stroke: As the Celtics check items off their preseason to-do list, they can add another notch after Allen finally had a hot shooting night. Coming into the game, Allen was shooting just 36 percent in his four outings. But after going 6-for-6 in the first half and finishing with an efficient 20-points, the veteran shooter is back on track.
Not that anyone should have been worrying about Allen. He is coming off one of the best shooting seasons of his career and he came into camp in terrific shape. But Allen is in the final year of his contract and his season will be watched carefully for any signs of slippage. As a general rule, when shooting guards in their 30’s lose it, they tend to lose it quickly.
Allen has been able to defy the ravages of time and has the game to continue being a successful shooter for a few more years. Whether that will translate into another big contract remains to be seen.
Inside the matchups: The Celtics don’t figure to get a lot of competition from the Atlantic Division this year. The Knicks and Nets are in various stages of their rebuilding programs and while the Sixers and Raptors should find themselves in playoff contention, neither is likely to make a serious move in the east.
Still, the games against Toronto are some of the more intriguing ones for the Celtics because there are three great individual matchups — Rondo vs. Jose Calderon, Paul Pierce vs. Hedo Turkoglu and Kendrick Perkins vs. Chris Bosh.
Rondo and Calderon are two of the top point guards in the conference, while Pierce and Turkoglu love to mix it up with each other. The two are among the craftiest practitioners of their art in the league and Pierce has tremendous respect for Turkoglu.
Perkins, meanwhile, is on the cusp of earning serious defensive cred around the league, especially after he battled Dwight Howard with one arm in last season’s playoffs. Bosh is one of his toughest covers because the Raptors big man can go inside and out and because he has several inches on Perkins.
Give Bosh the edge Sunday. He had Perkins in foul trouble for most of the afternoon and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, but expect to see some great battles during the regular season.
NOTES: As expected, Tony Allen (ankle) and Bill Walker (knee surgery) didn’t play. Former Celtic Patrick O’Bryant had two points, four rebounds and five fouls in 12 uninspired minutes. The teams combined for 43 turnovers and 54 fouls.
The Celtics have two more preseason games — at New York Tuesday and at Cleveland Wednesday. Don’t expect to see much against the Cavs.
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