BOSTON Let the countdown begin . . . at eight.
That's the number of days until the Celtics tip off their season against the Miami Heat next Tuesday. After playing their final preseason game Sunday night, an 88-79 loss to the 76ers, the C's will now set their sights on the Heat if they can see that far down the road yet.
For some players, it'll feel like an eternity. For Doc Rivers, though, the time will fly by. He plans to use it to his advantage.
"Yeah, that's terrific. That's the way we wanted it," Rivers said when asked his thoughts on the break in action before an Oct. 16 game against the Nets. "If we lose bad on Opening Night, it's an awful thing laughter. But no, I think a lot of times you have not enough preparation time, especially going to Europe and your camp in a lot of ways being interrupted, we can make a case that we can have another training camp, a real one where we don't travel and we get to practice. So, I like it. I've always liked having a week, and we're going to do that this year."
The Celtics will take Monday and Tuesday off, and then it's full steam ahead. But just because Miami is the first game on the schedule, doesn't mean all their preparation will be for them.
"And were not just getting ready for Miami. Its not like football where were getting ready for the Monday night game," Rivers said. "Were getting ready for 82 games. So that would be nice, to do it that way. Obviously we have time to prepare for the first game. But well be talking about the team we play the second game, the third and fourth game. You really tend to work on your stuff more than the other teams stuff.
Jeff Green has shown more this preseason than perhaps any other Celtic. He's playing with confidence that he didn't show in his firsts stint with the squad. You can understand why he's eager to put preseason and training camp behind and get the season underway as opposed to another week of preparation.
"No, I'd rather just play," Green said. "But I'm young. Anybody else will probably love this week. But I'm ready to start the season. This preseason felt super long. We had great trips in Turkey and Milan and had some good preseason games back here, but I'm ready to get the season started."
Green, who hopes to work on "more defensive schemes, for myself" this week, will get plenty of reps with teammate Courtney Lee. Both Green and Lee are big additions for the C's over the offseason, and should see plenty of minutes with both the first and second unit. Lee sees the week ahead as a great time to work on execution and cleaning up certain sets the team runs.
"We play games every day in practice, so that's only going to help us even more as far as executing because we know our stuff so it's going to be that easier when we play against an opponent," Lee said.
Rajon Rondo doesn't seem to mind either way. He's confident enough in his team to know that whenever, whatever, they'll be prepared.
"Well we have no other choice," he said. "It doesn't matter. It is what it is, we'll be ready to play whether we play tomorrow or a week from now."
Eight days, actually. But the wait will certainly be worth it.