Rookies ready, excited for first Celtics practice

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Rookies ready, excited for first Celtics practice

WALTHAM -- The first practice of the Boston Celtics 2012-13 season was called for 11am on Saturday morning.

Rookie Dionte Christmas went to bed at 10 oclock the night before in preparation and woke up at eight. By the time and he Jamar Smith arrived together at the Celtics practice facility shortly after nine, fellow rookies Kris Joseph, Fab Melo, and Jared Sullinger were already there. The five first-year players were ready to get to work.

I wanted to get a lift and condition in before practice actually starts, Joseph explained. Then youve got to come on the court and get your shots up because at the end of the day, once practice starts, if Im shooting on a basket and Paul (Pierce) wants to shoot, sorry young fella. So youve got to get your work in early and thats what I had heard from my teammates back in college and people around the NBA -- get your work in early because the vets will take over.

Saturday was the rookies first opportunity to run through a practice with the entire team, but they had been in Waltham for weeks working with the large group of players who returned to Boston ahead of training camp.

The sessions combined with the teams offseason trip to Los Angeles for informal workouts (organized by Rajon Rondo) gave the rookies a sense of familiarity with their new teammates and a glimpse into the level of intensity they would have to bring during practice.

Those guys, to be their age, they have so much energy, said Christmas. They have equal energy or more than some of the us and the younger guys on the team. KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul, Rondo, and JT (Jason Terry) bring the best out of you. Its humbling and Im just being a sponge.

The rookies have taken to their veteran teammates, seeking out advice as they run through plays and drills. This open communicated translated on to the court.

It was great, said Sullinger. We had a lot of fun. We learned a lot as a team. The team chemistry worked well. Everybody had a little something with one another.

Sundays practice is once again slated for 11am. That start time doesnt mean much to the rookies. They will be in the weight room and on the court long before that.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”