WALTHAM Even with a full 82-game slate to play with, the Boston Celtics didn't spend a lot of time practicing.
Now with a condensed 66-game schedule plus a pair of preseason games, once again we're talking about practice -- not a game! We're talking about practice!
Unsure of exactly the best way to approach practice with a shortened season, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers did some research on how teams handled the 50-game season of 1999.
"The last time this happened, 50 games, some coaches didn't have a practice at all during the season," said Rivers, who added that he hasn't ruled out having some two-a-day practices in training camp in hopes of speeding up the learning curve of a roster that will be filled with fresh faces. "We'll figure it out."
One of the reasons so many veteran players the past couple of years have been eager to play for Rivers and the Celtics has been Rivers' strong belief in the value of resting his veteran players more so than most coaches.
But the lockout has created a completely different, and far more challenging, set of circumstances for Rivers to work with heading into the season.
Because of that, his approach to practice will likely be one that evolves as the season progresses.
One thing Rivers does know? The Celtics, unlike some teams from the lockout-shortened 1999 season, will not totally blow off practicing during the season.
"I can tell you that will not happen," Rivers said. "At the end of the day, we're just going to have to figure out the rhythm of what works for our team."
After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement.
In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination.
Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles. He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”
Cedric Maxwell joined Arbella Early Edition to analyze the biggest takeaway from the Celtics-Hawks series.
But you also have to wonder if the Celtics could have interest in signing Kent Bazemore or Al Horford, both free agents for the Hawks.