Chinese connection reinforces Celtics bench

Chinese connection reinforces Celtics bench
March 2, 2013, 1:15 am
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BOSTON -- With three players from the Chinese Basketball Association now on the Celtics, one reporter jokingly asked Terrence Williams if there was anyone left overseas.

Williams, D.J. White, and Shavlik Randolph have all left China over the past two weeks for the C's. On Friday, they played their first game at the TD Garden as a member of the green and white and shared memories of their time this season in the CBA.

"We beat them, beat them both twice," Williams boasted with a smile on his face. "That was easy. They both played well, but we beat them."

White played for the Shanghai Sharks in a city that Williams described as similar to the United States -- "He was lucky, fortunate."

Williams' team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, often had to travel long hours to play their competition in northern China. They flew as far as they could, then took a little bus to reach their destination. Once they arrived, Williams estimated the temperature there was "negative ten degrees, negative seven degrees, like Boston."

Randolph praised the development of the CBA, the talent level of its players, and the passion of the fans who reached sold-out capacity at some games. He liked playing in front of thousands of basketball enthusiasts when he traveled around the league with the Foshan Long Lions. He was caught off guard, however, when he learned fans were allowed to smoke in the arena.

"You come out at halftime and you feel like you're about to play a game of laser tag," he said. "You're walking out in a mist of cigarette smoke."

Unlike players who had less-than-ideal living arrangements overseas, Randolph enjoyed high class amenities  -- one of the team's sponsors was a Swiss hotel. He took advantage of 24-hour room service available, something he missed when craving French toast back home in Raleigh, N.C. Food options were different on the road, though.

"You have to eat what the other team provides you," he explained. "Sometimes you're playing Russian Roulette if you put any kind of meat they give you into your body."

Randolph shouldn't have to be concerned about food on the road in the NBA. Now, if only Williams could do something about that chilly Boston weather.