Long layoff before opener is OK by Rivers

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Long layoff before opener is OK by Rivers

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.

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”