Pavlovic happy to be back with Celtics


Pavlovic happy to be back with Celtics

WALTHAM -- Sasha Pavlovic had a feeling he would be back in Boston.

After signing with the Celtics in March as a free agent, he averaged just 8.8 minutes in 17 games, but believed there would be another opportunity to play in green.

I talked to coach Doc Rivers a little bit at the end of the season and he kind of told me that hes happy with what he saw in practices because I didnt have a lot of playing time, he told after practice on Monday. I came in late, but I had a little feeling.

Rivers liked what he saw in the limited glimpses of the 6-foot-7 swingman. For a team adding versatile pieces to their bench, Pavlovic was a good fit. The Celtics signed him to a one-year contract on Monday, which president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said is guaranteed.

I believe he can be a good player, said Rivers. I told him that last year. I told him in our exit meetings that his talent is in him, its all between his ears. I think he can be a really good player. Hes still relatively young and so were going to try to get him out of him.

Pavlovic, 28, is entering his ninth season in the NBA. He spent the offseason working out back home in Montenegro, and returned to Cleveland last week in hopes of securing a roster spot in the league.

I was hoping for this call, he said of signing with the Celtics. So as soon as I got it, I was happy and couldnt wait to get here.

This season Pavlovic will look to carve out his own place on the C's roster. And even if close friend Nenad Krstic is no longer on the squad this season, he feels back at home after his first day at practice.

Im not by myself, he said with a smile. I have teammates here, just like Nenad was.

Horford's all-around play key in first regular-season game with Celtics

Horford's all-around play key in first regular-season game with Celtics

BOSTON – The Al Horford love fest continues with the veteran big man delivering yet another impressive performance for the Boston Celtics.

And this one?

Unlike his play in the preseason, Wednesday night's game counts.

Horford’s all-around play was pivotal to Boston holding on for a 122-117 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

CELTICS 122, NETS 117:

The four-time All-Star made several high-basketball IQ-type plays that in hindsight, were major key moments in Boston pushing its lead to as many as 23 points.

In the third quarter with Boston ahead 71-65, Horford took advantage of Brooklyn closing out too hard on him and drove into the lane. As the Nets defenders collapsed to take away a shot attempt in the lane, Horford swung the ball to Jae Crowder whose jumper triggered a 14-5 run.

Boston would lead by double figures until the last couple of minutes of the game.

“We have to keep playing the right way, for 48 minutes,” Horford said when asked about the team’s late-game collapse.

The late-game struggles aside, there was a lot to like about how the Celtics played throughout the first 40 minutes.

And a big part of that strong play has to be credited to Horford whose ability to help keep the ball moving allowed the Celtics to finish with 36 assists on 48 made field goals, the kind of opening night assist numbers that haven’t been seen around these parts in decades.

Horford was among those getting into the act, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and six assists.

To see him racking up guard-like assist numbers isn’t unusual when you consider he was third in the league last season in assists per game (3.2) for a center.

“Guys were moving the ball very well,” Horford said. “It’s kind of contagious.”

Said Crowder: “I never saw coaches clap on a three-second call. We moved the ball in the first quarter so much we got a three-second call. We passed up a lot of open shots. It just shows how unselfish we are playing as a unit.”

And while that selfless brand of basketball was on display at times last season, the addition of Horford seems to have taken it to another level.

“He opens the floor, he makes it easier for everybody; he’s always in the right spots, he’s a threat at all times,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “He can hit the 3, hit the mid-range, and also post up so he has the full package; a guy that makes it easy for everybody.”