|Pierce Turning 32 Going on 20||10.12.09 at 11:08 pm ET|
“I still feel in my early 20s,” he told WEEI.com after a recent practice. “I feel like I’m back in Kansas.”
Pierce turns 32 on Tuesday, and a new lifestyle has him energized as he enters his 12th NBA season. Last month he was one of several Celtics who showed up to media day with a noticeably slimmer frame. While Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis admitted to dropping up to 15 and 30 pounds respectively, Pierce (who is listed at 235 pounds) isn’t paying attention to the scale.
“I maybe lost two pounds, I don’t know,” he said. As for losing body fat, “Probably so, I haven’t measured it, but most likely I have.”
Pierce isn’t counting the pounds because it’s how his body feels, not what the scale reads, that matters more to him. And even though he feels young, he understands the reality of being a professional athlete in his 30s. Pierce made a commitment to improve his overall health and kick the habits that could eventually catch up to him.
“I just think it’s more important because the body is aging, it’s getting older,” he said. “You’re not as quick as you used to be and your body has to adjust with the times. I mean, what I used to do when I was younger are some of the things I can’t do now. I’m stressing more rest, I didn’t sleep as much when I was younger, so a lot of things change. It’s easier to gain weight the older you get so that’s why I decided to change a lot of my habits.”
The change in his physique has more to do with the changes he endorses through his healthy living initiatives rather than a regimented weight loss program.
“I think it has more to do with my eating habits,” he said. “Ever since I changed everything I’m doing as far as my foundation with The Truth on Health and FitClub34, I’ve got to practice what I preach. I’ve pretty much benefited from the things I’m doing of that nature.”
He added: “I’ve just changed up my eating habits as far as eating a lot of fish, chicken, vegetables, not as much red meat — almost no red meat — no sodas, not a lot of juice. I drink a lot of water and Gatorade and Powerade.”
Ray Allen, a stickler for healthy living, already has noticed the changes in Pierce. Allen was 32 when he was traded to the Celtics in 2008, a time when he says he began to get in his best shape by eating better and getting more sleep. He understands firsthand the importance of Pierce taking care of his body at this pivotal stage in his career.
“Just yesterday in the weight room I told him he was starting to look skinny,” Allen said. “You know, Paul has always had like a heavy look, a heavy body. Now you see in his legs he’s slimming down, his upper body is slimming down. I think it’s the natural evolution when you get into your 30s and your metabolism starts to slow down and you start thinking about eating better, getting more sleep, and then your body starts to show it. And then as for us, this schedule is so demanding you really have no choice, your body will tell you you need more rest.”
Pierce has learned to listen to his body, and because of this he can celebrate his 32nd birthday feeling like he’s in his 20s.
|Garnett: The wings are coming||at 5:17 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The dunk happened sometime today between 1 and 2:30 p.m. when the Celtics had their practice closed off to the media, but it did happen.
Doc Rivers worked the Celtics hard Monday, one day after a preseason game with the Nets, and one day before a back-to-back set with New Jersey and then Toronto in Hartford. During the session, Kevin Garnett went up for a lob and brought it home.
“Kevin was great,” Rivers said. “I don’t think he came out today. He’s getting stronger and stronger. The only thing left, today, he caught a lob and dunked it. It was an amazing dunk and everyone was like, ‘Whoa, we haven’t seen that.’ He’s not as explosive yet, but it will come. You can see it. When he did it he yelled out, ‘Oh I can do it.’ That was good to see.”
“I think Doc wants me to grow wings and fly,” Garnett said. “I tell him just to be patient. The wings are coming.”
The wings, and everything else, are coming into focus for the Celtics as they reach roughly the midway point of training camp. The starting five is back and healthy and the reserves have shown enough in the preseason games that the bench seems far more settled than it has in the past.
Still, there remains work to be done incorporating the new players — Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels particularly — into the offensive and defensive systems as well as learning the little things about each other that only come with time and reps.
“Even though everyone has a high IQ when it comes to basketball, we still have chemistry [things to work on],” Garnett said. “Where ‘Sheed likes to have the ball, where Marquis likes isolation and everybody understanding everybody’s game. It’s not a big thing, but it’s something that you have to give a certain amount of attention to. The new guys have to learn our schemes and understand terminology.”
There’s no question the Celtics are feeling good about where they are with the season-opener at Cleveland looming in a little more than two weeks. A big part of that is fact that the players came into camp in basketball shape.
“Every guy on our team has come to camp in better shape than they were last year,” Rivers said. “Eddie [House] came to camp in phenomenal shape. Kevin, conditioning-wise, is probably not where he was last year because he spent half the summer not being able to work out. But everyone else: Paul [Pierce] is in great shape, [Glen Davis] is in great shape. A lot of that is that we lost and no one likes that feeling. You want to do something about it.”
NOTES: Part of the reason that Rivers worked the team so extensively Monday is that he plans to rest the veterans in at least one of the next two games. Look for the coach to use that time to begin working on some rotation patterns. Rivers said that he is set on the first four off the bench — House, Daniels, Wallace and Davis — and then the rest will sort itself out depending on matchups.
Pierce turns 32 Tuesday (look for a story by colleague Jess Camerato that day) and while the captain was not in a mood to reminisce, Garnett offered his thoughts on his teammate. “Paul makes things easier,” Garnett said. “I’m not going to lie about that. He not only makes things easier, but simpler. Offensively, things get simplified, plus a lot of things he and I don’t need to talk. We have a bond and a chemistry that’s unspoken.”
Pierce on rookie Lester Hudson, who is three months older than six-year veteran Kendrick Perkins: “He’s a 25-year-old rookie. How many of those do you have? He plays mature. He came in and he understands the game a little better than your average 19- or 20-year-old rookie. That’s good.”
|Progress as usual for Celtics||10.11.09 at 5:16 pm ET|
Devin Harris didn’t play for the Nets.
Ray Allen played 15 minutes in the first half and got up exactly one shot.
The Celtics first unit ran the same play, and only that play, during the entire first quarter when they were operating in the half court.
In other words, it’s dangerous to read too much into any preseason game, let alone one that featured 35 turnovers and 56 personal fouls, but for the purposes of discussion, there were several bright spots for the Celtics on Sunday. Of note:
Kevin Garnett’s comeback continues: Garnett logged 21 minutes and scored 12 points to go with six rebounds. He was also moving up and down the floor with a noticeably easier gait.
“Sprint,” Garnett said when asked what he was most encouraged by. “I thought today I got up and down. I tried to put pressure on their defense, get in the middle, call for the ball. As far as being aggressive this is probably the most aggressive I’ve been since I’ve come back and played. Reaction time was a lot better, a lot faster.”
Garnett was also back to old feisty self as he got mixed up with New Jersey’s Yi Jianlian during the first quarter.
“Wasn’t nothing,” Garnett said. “He don’t know me, I don’t know him.”
Good day for the captain: Garnett shot 6-of-8 from the floor but he wasn’t the Celtics’ most effective scorer. That was Paul Pierce, who scored an almost effortless 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting, operating mostly against New Jersey rookie Terrence Williams. But once again the most encouraging sign for the Celtics beyond their general health was the play of the second unit.
“To tell you the truth I thought our second unit was a lot more impressive than we were,” Pierce said. “They were the ones that pushed the lead out and they’re looking like they’re jelling well together. We are still coming along as a unit, but that’s the process of preseason.”
The rotation begins to take shape: Much has been made about the versatility of the C’s second unit thanks to veteran additions Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels, but as good as they’ve been, the team will begin to integrate the starters with the reserves into forming a cohesive rotation.
From the beginning of the preseason Doc Rivers has brought Wallace in first off the bench to get him time with the starters, but beyond that look for a few more combinations to begin taking shape.
“The one group we haven’t had — Rasheed, Kevin, Eddie [House], Paul and Ray — that’s a group that you’d like to have on the floor,” Rivers said. “You have to be careful with the point guard. The three teams that we’ve played all pressure all the point. That’s dangerous for us.”
Rivers has a bunch of options at his disposal, and depending on matchups, foul trouble or injuries, he can mix and match as the season progresses. Finding ways to utilize House (who scored 13 points) always will be a top priority.
As the preseason games begin to pile up, Rivers said he’ll give veterans Pierce, Garnett, Wallace and Allen time to take some games off. The Celtics have two back-to-backs coming up, with the first set coming this week when they play at New York Tuesday and then the Raptors in Hartford Wednesday. They have another back-to-back set next week as well, which seems like a good time to work out some rotation kinks.
Health update: Everyone played, with the exception of Tony Allen, who is working his way back from an ankle injury. “There’s going to be good days and bad days [for Allen],” Rivers said before the game. “We’re not going to know until he gets on the floor.”
|Former Magic Notice Changes in Celtics||at 5:01 pm ET|
The last time Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee played against the Celtics, they sent the C’s packing for the summer. The trio were members of the Magic team that eliminated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This year they are in a different uniform and noticed the Cs have a different look as well.
Alston, Battie and Lee were traded from the Magic to the Nets over the summer as part of the Vince Carter deal. On Sunday they got their first take at the Celtics with their new team during preseason action at the TD Garden (recap here).
“They got a brand new season,” Battie said. “I mean, you look and [Kevin Garnett] is back and Rasheed [Wallace] is part of it. They got a great steal in getting Marquis Daniels, and you have those three additions coming back in the team. So, I think they’re the team to beat, definitely.”
Last season a hobbled Celtics squad was outscored, outrebounded and burned from the 3-point line by the Magic. Without Garnett on the court and veterans Ray Allen and Paul Pierce overworked, the Celtics bench could not save the season. Now the additions of Wallace and Daniels give the team much-needed depth.
“They get their big guy back and then they add Rasheed Wallace in there now,” Alston said. “I think when you’re trying to take away a lot of their main guys, they have a lot of guys that can step up and stretch the defense or post up on the low block. They have a different dynamic to their team, especially from a defensive aspect for other teams.”
Both Alston and Lee agree the series would have been completely different if the Celtics had so many weapons last season.
“They would’ve been a better team,” Lee said. “They definitely would’ve been harder for a matchup because you can play Marquis at the 1 and you sub in Rasheed, so they keep a shooting big in at all times, so they definitely would have been better.”
Said Alston: “I don’t think we would have been able to roam a lot off of a lot of their guys — [Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins, Big Baby [Glen Davis]. Those guys who really bring more scoring to the offense, especially from the bench standpoint.”
The combination of a healthy Garnett and a revamped second unit has Alston noticing a difference in the 2009-10 Celtics. Although he isn’t as willing as Battie to name them the best in the Eastern Conference, he can’t deny the changes on the court.
“Whenever they have all their guys, they have a swagger,” he said. “When someone goes down they don’t have swagger no more. That’s just how they are.”
|Returning Celtics hit the court in preseason opener||10.07.09 at 11:37 pm ET|
On Wednesday night, all eyes were on Kevin Garnett as he returned to the court for the first time in more than six months during the Celtics’ preseason opener against the Rockets in Hidalgo, Texas. Although Garnett’s playing time was limited, his knee injury looked out of mind when he drained the first shot of the game.
But Garnett was not the only player who returned to the Celtics looking to improve upon last season. Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis lost weight, Rajon Rondo bulked up, and Ray Allen claims to be in the best shape of his career. See how the members of the 2008-09 team fared as they began the 2009-10 season.
Last game: March 25 vs. Orlando Magic
17 minutes, 4 points (2-5 FG), 8 rebounds, 1 assist
Preseason opener: 13 minutes, 6 points (2-6 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
39 minutes, 16 points (4-13 FG), 7-10 FT, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Preseason opener: 16 minutes, 8 points (2-6 FG), 4-4 FT, 1 rebound, 0 assist
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
41 minutes, 23 points (9-18 FG), 3-6 3PG, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Preseason opener: 17 minutes, 8 points (3-6 FG), 0-2 3PG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
37 minutes, 10 points (4-10 FG), 2-2 FT, 6 rebounds, 10 assists
Preseason opener: 17 minutes, 7 points (1-4 FG), 5-8 FT, 1 rebound, 3 assists
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
39 minutes, 8 points (3-11 FG), 15 rebounds, 2 blocks
Preseason opener: 14 minutes, 3 points (1-2 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
31 minutes, 13 points (4-7 FG), 4 rebounds
Preseason opener: 23 minutes, 9 points (3-6 FG), 4 rebounds
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
17 minutes, 2 points (1-3 FG), 0-1 3PG, 0 assists
Preseason opener: 21 minutes, 9 points (3-6 FG), 1-2 3PG, 0 assists
Last game: May 17 vs. Orlando Magic
13 minutes, 2 points (1-5 FG), 1 rebound, 2 assists
Preaseason opener: 18 minutes, 4 points (1-2 FG), 2 rebounds, 0 assists
Last game: March 6 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
1 minute, 0 points (0-0 FG), 1 rebound, 1 steal
Preseason opener: 13 minutes, 1 point (0-1 FG), 1 rebound, 0 steals
Tony Allen (ankle) did not play against the Rockets. Visit WEEI.com’s Green Street for live coverage from the TD Garden on Friday night as the Celtics take on the Knicks in their preseason home-opener.
|NBA sets social media guidelines||09.30.09 at 11:57 pm ET|
Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva brought social media to the forefront in the NBA last season when he tweeted from the locker room during halftime as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Within a period of months countless players around the league, including Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Marquis Daniels, have adopted this trend. Some have even used sites like Twitter as an outlet to break their own news. In response, the NBA has released a set of guidelines heading into the 2009-10 season.
The NBA formally announced its new social media guidelines Wednesday, informing teams through a league memorandum that the use of cell phones, PDAs and other electronic communications devices — and thus accessing Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites — is now prohibited during games for players, coaches and other team personnel involved in the game.
The league has defined “during games” as the period of time beginning 45 minutes before the opening tip and ending “after the postgame locker room is open to the media and coaches and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to media attending the game.”
“During games” also encompasses halftime, according to the memo, but the new guidelines do allow players to engage in social networking during the pregame media ccess period that starts 90 minutes before tipoff and lasts for 45 minutes.
Coaches and team executives are expected to largely welcome the league’s edict, as they generally frown upon mobile-phone use in the locker room and on team buses, although the severity of restrictions generally vary from team to team given the rise in recent years in texting and e-mailing from handheld devices.
The league’s announcement also included the expected caveat that teams “are free to adopt their own rules relating to the use of electronic communication devices and social media sites and services during practices, meetings and other team events.”
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers addressed the issue of social media earlier this week and said he does not plan to implement further restrictions than those enforced by the NBA.
|Celtics Media Day Wrap Up||09.28.09 at 11:34 pm ET|
The return of Kevin Garnett may have been the hot topic at Celtics media day on Monday, but there were plenty of other news and notes from the C’s …(Click on the links for more Media Day reaction from Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers.)
Rajon Rondo will become a restricted free agent next summer if the Celtics do not sign him to a contract extension by October. On Monday he was tight-lipped when it came to business, suggesting any questions could be answered by his agent, Bill Duffy. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really think about it,” Rondo said. “I try to just focus on camp. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, I’ll play it out.” He reiterated that he will play wherever he is wanted and that his main focus is getting another ring. … Rondo, 23, gained 11 pounds this summer “because I’m growing up.” He trained with a new weight-lifting routine, ate three meals a day, and cut fast food from his diet. He also plans on hiring a chef.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would like to keep Rondo around as the team’s point guard for the next 10 years and has had early talks with his agent about future plans. He has not, however, had discussions with Ray Allen about his expiring contract and will not address that issue publicly. … Ainge has high expectations for the upcoming season. He believes the offseason moves and returning talent will be successful. “We’ve added some great depth, our young players are improving, and Rondo, Perk and Glen Davis, they made great strides last year and I think they’re even going to better this year as their games are maturing. I think that Rasheed [Wallace] and Marquis [Daniels] give us two more starters, proven starters, that are coming off the bench for us that should give us a lot of depth,” Ainge said.
Paul Pierce is making his confidence in the Celtics perfectly clear. He believes they are the best team in the league when healthy, pointing out they were on a record-breaking pace last season prior to injuries. “People are going to say what they want to say about my comments or whatever, but I have total confidence in this ball club,” he said. … Even though Doc Rivers would prefer to cut back on the veterans’ minutes this season, Pierce refuses to sacrifice playing time for wins. “I’m not willing to lose nothing. Next question. I don’t understand that, losing. No.” … He compared seeing Kevin Garnett back on the court for 5-on-5 drills as a “breath of fresh air.”
Ray Allen kicked off media day with some humor while waiting for Pierce to join him and Garnett at the podium. Allen grabbed the microphone to locate his teammate: “Paul Pierce. Paul Pierce. Your food is ready.” … The Celtics’ window of opportunity to win a championship has been mentioned since they acquired veterans Allen and Garnett. Allen, though, is more focused on the here-and-now than two or three years down the road. “We don’t look at a window. We’re not looking past this year. We can’t look past this year,” he said. … Allen is not concerned with adding a player like Rasheed Wallace to the mix. He pointed out many of them have known Wallace since high school and the Celtics have already learned each other’s game.
Kendrick Perkins is heading into training camp 15 pounds lighter than last season and is down to 270 pounds, his lightest total in three years. Perkins did not have a weight-loss regimen but rather trimmed down during his workouts. … His shoulder, which he has dislocated in the past, feels better than it has “in a while.” Perkins noted he is not worried about suffering another injury and is feeling strong. … The big man has been impressed by Wallace on and off the court. Even though he did not know what to expect at first — “I didn’t know. I was just waiting to see. It was kind of like scary for a moment,” he said — Perkins praised Wallace’s versatile game and pointed out he is a great addition to the locker room.
Click here to listen to audio clips from media day.