Celtics 'athletic' with Garnett at center

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Celtics 'athletic' with Garnett at center

BOSTON Before the season began, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers talked about playing Kevin Garnett "some" at center this season.

But with Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out indefinitely, Garnett's minutes in the middle are more than either Rivers or Garnett expected.

And the Celtics are a better team for it.

As much as Garnett cringes at the idea of being a center after a Hall of Fame career at the 4-spot, he knows as well as anyone that the C's seem to play better when he's at center.

You can add Friday's 10794 win over New Jersey as yet another piece of mounting evidence to support that theory.

Garnett had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win, giving him his team-leading ninth double-double this season.

And he did most of his damage . . . as a center.

When it comes to playing center, it's like most topics with Garnett he doesn't mince his words.

"Preference-wise, I don't like it," he said. "I'm a 4 (power forward). I don't like you know, it is what it is. I'll do whatever this team needs me to be, other than a cheerleader with pom-pons and some short-shorts."

Although having Garnett play almost exclusively now at center is out of necessity, the benefits of him at center cannot be ignored.

"Garnett looked like he was 21 years old tonight," said Nets coach Avery Johnson.

Indeed, Garnett does appear to have a bit more spring in his step at the center position.

"Kevin at the five has been very good," Rivers said. "We're athletic all of a sudden. You put Kevin and Brandon (Bass) on the floor at the same time. With Rondo. All of a sudden we're flying down the floor and we're getting low posts, we're scoring."

Boston has been among the NBA's lowest scoring teams all season.

The C's are ranked 26th in the league in scoring, at 89.7 points per game.

During their current three-game winning streak, Boston's scoring is bumped up to 98.3 points per game.

And while there are a number of Celtics who have contributed to that recent surge offensively, Garnett's scoring around the basket has been a big part of the turn-around.

Whether he's a four or five-man, Garnett only cares about doing whatever he can to help the Celtics win games.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself when it comes to playing basketball, and positions is just numbers to me," Garnett said. "But, you know, if it comes to preference I enjoy the 4. There's a lot more versatility in the 4. You know, the 5 you're kind of stuck in the mud and cement and you know things are as written.

Garnett added, "but this is what it is and I'm enjoying it and I'm adapting and doing whatever I can to get my team ahead."

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”