Celtics may start slow after lockout

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Celtics may start slow after lockout

When it comes to fast starts, there are few who do it better than the Boston Celtics.

In the Big 3 (now Big 4 if you include Rajon Rondo) Era, the Celtics have been the one team no one wants to see early on.

Look at the numbers. Dating back to the 2007-08 season, Boston has won more than 87 percent of its games prior to Christmas -- easily the best in the NBA.

However, that success has come after a full offseason of free agency, training camp and preseason games. This season, which will kick off on Christmas Day, is anything but business as usual for teams like the Celtics.

With the NBA and players tentatively agreeing to a compressed 66-game schedule, it will be a challenge to all teams -- especially clubs like the Celtics.

Their core group (Rondo excluded) is old, and with the games coming faster and more furious than past years, the C's will struggle to keep up with their younger, more athletic opponents.

Sounds familiar? It should. Lockout or no lockout, we've heard this before about the Celtics.

Every year, actually.

And there they are, bolting out to start the season better than anyone else, positioning themselves for title talk before the calendar flips to a new year.

But this is a totally new season, and the Celtics will be a totally different team. And unlike their past success, their starting point to the season has changed as well.

But the biggest change, maybe more than anything else, is there will likely be more new faces playing prominent roles in the rotation, than past years.

The Celtics only have six players under contract this season. That does not include Jeff Green, a restricted free agent that the C's have said repeatedly they want to re-sign.

"It'll be a different makeup (this season)," Rondo said. "A lot of different guys; a lot of new faces around the city. We'll try and get them accustomed to how we do things here in Boston and go for a championship."

A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

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A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff. 

 

 

Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

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Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

WALTHAM, Mass. – Gerald Green’s hip flexor injury isn’t anything he or the Celtics are overly concerned about.

They know Green as well as any player on this roster, so him missing a couple days will have no effect on his status in their eyes.

But in shutting him down for a couple days, his absence affords a number of players an opportunity to stand up in what is an absolutely pivotal, potentially career-altering season.

James Young is in his third training camp with the Celtics and no one has a real feel for where he fits into the pantheon of NBA players.

He hasn’t played enough to call him a bust, but hasn’t done enough to feel as though he has a bright future in this league either.

And then there’s R.J. Hunter, who came into the NBA with the reputation of being a spot-on shooter.

As a rookie last season, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard struggled knocking down shots when he got playing which for most of the season, was limited.

So, what does that have to do with Green’s injury?

His absence means those two players will get more reps on the floor, providing each with potentially more chances to impress the coaching staff.

It means Young will get a few more shots at showing the added strength, weight and improved skills will enhance his chances to not just make the 15-man roster but also compete for potential minutes.

As for Hunter, he has to make shots.

It’s that simple.

While he showed potential as a rookie to do a number of things on the floor, the easiest way for him to solidify a spot on the roster is to do what he does best which is make baskets.

At the end of the day, one of these guys will not be in a Celtics uniform this season. Between now and then, every opportunity they get to impress the coaches has to be taken advantage of which is exactly what they each will get courtesy of Green’s short-term injury.