Camby: Garnett is 'an intense player'

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Camby: Garnett is 'an intense player'

BOSTON -- In all of Marcus Camby's lengthy NBA career, Kevin Garnett still sets himself apart from any other player he has competed against. 
"Never, never in my 17 years (have I seen another player talk to himself)," Camby told CSNNE.com. "He's probably the first guy that does that."
The New York Knicks center entered the league in 1996, one year after Garnett. He has never heard someone have such vocal solo conversations as Garnett does. 
"I just thought he was an intense player," said Camby. "I just know that he's very hard and critical of himself and his game and wants to lead by example. You want guys like that on your team because he prides himself on being a great team guy."
He continued, "He just does a lot of talking. It's mainly just to get himself going and pump himself up. I don't know about all the other trash talking stuff that's being said out there, but when I've played against him, he was just talking to himself, just trying to get himself pumped up, and getting his teammates pumped up and they feed off his energy."
Garnett has gotten into the heads of many of his opponents, often times causing them to lose their focus and their composure. 
This month, he and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony were involved in a heated situation in which Garnett reportedly made comments that riled Anthony during the game. Anthony was suspended one game for confronting Garnett both inside Madison Square Garden and by the team bus. 
Camby said even though players know what to expect going against Garnett, it can be easy to get lost in the intensity.
"You know it going into the ball game, but it's like you get caught up in the heat of the moment and the intensity of the game and the atmosphere of the crowd in the arena," he said. "Your juices get flowing, sometimes you tend to lose focus and forget that that's what he does. You just want to act off emotions instead of taking a hot second, calm yourself down a little bit, know that this is what it is, and go about your business."
When asked if Garnett's intense solo conversations have ever riled him, Camby quickly replied.
"Never, never, never," he said. "Never."

Celtics expectations at a new high in Stevens' fourth season

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Celtics expectations at a new high in Stevens' fourth season

WALTHAM, Mass. – As Amir Johnson made his way to the podium during the Boston Celtics’ Media day on Monday, he didn’t waste any time addressing the biggest change from last season this time.

For the first time under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics have  expectations – high expectations – for the upcoming season.

“A lot of expectations I hear around here,” Johnson said. “'Celtics got this,'  'Celtics got that!' Talk to me!”

Well he’s right.

The expectations are at a level we have not seen under Stevens, and its players like Johnson and his play that have helped fuel such speculation.

Vegas lists Boston as one of a handful of teams whose over/under win total is over 50. 

Last season the Celtics were 48-34 which was tied for the third-best record in the East.

Arguably Boston’s greatest strength last season was their depth; the kind that seemed to have a serviceable player at every position times two (or in some instances).

While Boston’s depth this season isn’t any greater in terms of quantity, the quality of Boston’s starters and backups is indeed of a higher grade which is why defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team at this point that’s without question better than the Celtics.

Being a team that’s expected to be among the top teams in the East is new for this crew. In fact, you have to go back to the days when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were around to find another time when Boston was thought of so highly in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is well aware that there’s an increased level of external support that believes his team will be among the top squads in the NBA.

But he also recognizes his team’s best path towards success is to remain true to who they are and what they do best.

When asked what success for the Celtics will look like this season, Stevens was succinct in his response.

“My expectations never change,” Stevens said. “It’s all about getting better tomorrow, making sure we’re as good as we can be. That’s’ a very simple, boring process but that’s the way that I go about it. The results take care of themselves.”

After winning just 25 games during his rookie season, Stevens-coached teams in Boston have increased their win total each season.

So the growth both he and the Celtics as well as their fan base are seeking, has been pretty obvious.

And while most of the players tried to be as non-committal as they could on what would a successful season look like, Jae Crowder left nothing to the imagination when he laid out what a good season in his eyes looked like.

“Our first goal was to make it to the playoffs,” Crowder said. “We’re beyond that point now.

Crowder added, “Success is home court advantage going into the playoffs, getting past the first round. Two years in a row we got the same result. We have to progress from that. That’s what we’re shooting for.”

Being one of the hunted will be a new experience for the Celtics, one that Danny Ainge is excited about this season.

“We expect our team to be better,” said Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “We expect each of the players to be better. We have a lot of guys that are not yet in their prime that are moving in that direction. I do expect it to be better.

Ainge added, “You can have some goals with numbers but overall there’s a lot of factors in determining success. We want to be better at the end of the year than we are at the beginning of the year, however good we are at the beginning of the year. We want to compete against the best teams.”