Stiemsma hopes solid play will lead to roster spot

619502.jpg

Stiemsma hopes solid play will lead to roster spot

BOSTON -- He mentioned all the right words to fit in with the Boston Celtics.

Defense.

Rebounds.

Focus.

Greg Steimsma has transitioned smoothly into the Celtics system during training camp. In Wednesdays preseason win over the Toronto Raptors, he showcased what he could add to the team if he made the regular season roster.

I hope I showed I belong, that I can play at this level, and that I can help this team whether its three or four minute stretches or whatever it be, practice, whatever it is, he said. I feel I can step in and help them out.

In nearly 18 minutes off the bench, Steimsma recorded seven points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots. Hes proving to be compatible with the goals of the Celtics reserves -- understand your role and contribute to your highest potential in the minutes you play.

He played great, which is good," said head coach Doc Rivers. "Its good to see. It was nice because we played him with some of the starters, which we were trying to do, and he blocked shots, he could run the floor, he can make a shot from the elbow. That was great when he just jacked it. That was what we wanted him to do. So it was a good showing by him.

Steimsma, a 26-year-old journeyman, has played in the NBA Development League and overseas. He hopes that the skills he has been honing over the years will be an asset to the Celtics. Steimsma pointed to taking care of the ball, good shot selection, and attention to details as a few of his strengths thats mesh with the Cs system.

Defensively, I just tried to hold down in the paint as much as I can, he said. I didnt get as many rebounds as maybe I wanted to, but I hit a couple of shots, ran the floor. I thought I got that one bucket in transition. Weve got guys that will find you. If you run, youre going to get rewarded. So it was a combination of a few little things.

After getting a few reps under his belt, Steimsma settled in on the court. It also helped to have supportive teammates, coaches, and fans behind him.

I know Bostons a great sports town, he said. They love their Celtics.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Sixers

WATCH: Celtics vs. Sixers

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the 76ers in Philadelphia. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App.  Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: Road has been kind to Celtics lately 

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil. 
 
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
 
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately. 
 
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia. 
 
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday. 
 
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
 
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
 
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
 
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.” 
 
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did. 
 
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
 
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively. 
 
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
 
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”