Boston still Stiemsma's first choice

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Boston still Stiemsma's first choice

Greg Stiemsma will spend today being wined and dined by the Minnesota Timberwolves. And in the coming days, there will be more teams showing the Boston Celtics restricted free agent some love.

However, his agent tells CSNNE.com that a return to Boston is still Stiemsma's preference.

"He loves it there, and they've indicated that they really like having him around," his agent Mike Naiditch, told CSNNE.com during a phone interview on Sunday morning, the first day of free agency. "But we understand, and so do they, that this is a process."

With Kevin Garnett in the fold, Naiditch expects that will be the first of a number of moves made by the C's to bolster their roster.

While Stiemsma fits in with the Celtics' plan moving forward, Naiditch accepts the reality that there's likely other players at various positions that the C's will pursue before they get around to Stiemsma.

In the meantime, Naiditch will continue to field calls and inquiries from other teams to better gauge Stiemsma's value when the time comes to sit down and talk about a new deal with the Celtics.

"He's going to listen to Minnesota and he'll probably visit with a few more teams, too," Naiditch said. "But Boston is where he wants to be. At the same time, he has to make sure he knows what all opportunities are out there for him. But what he wants when all is said and done, is to keep playing for the Boston Celtics."

The C's made him a qualifying offer of 1.05 million last week, making him a restricted free agent. So if another team offers Stiemsma a contract, the C's will have an opportunity to match it and retain his services.

Having Garnett return to Boston certainly bodes well for Stiemsma, an understudy of sorts to Garnett, who on more than one occasion didn't mince words in discussing Stiemsma's future in the NBA and more specifically, as a Boston Celtic.

Hes playing good basketball," Garnett said of Stiemsma prior to the playoffs. "Were all happy for him, just because you want to see the hard workers and the grinders of the league get an opportunity and hes taking his. I truly hope that Danny (Ainge, Bostons president of basketball operations) rewards him at the end. If not us, somebody at the end of the year, gives him something long term to where he can build off of, substantial.

As a rookie, Stiemsma led the Celtics in blocks per game with 1.5 per game, along with scoring 2.9 points and grabbing 3.2 rebounds.

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!