Boston Celtics

Celtics' Garnett: 'I have to be better'

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Celtics' Garnett: 'I have to be better'

CLEVELAND There's plenty of blame pie to go around the Boston Celtics locker room if you're trying to figure out who to pin this latest defeat on.

For some players, there's a legit question as to how bad they really want to win or conversely, avoid losing.

And then there's Kevin Garnett who is so desperate now in his search to help the team win, he is starting to make the kind of mistakes that you seldom see him make.

In Boston's 95-90 loss, there was a sequence that was such an anti-Garnett moment.

There was a sequence on Tuesday in which Cleveland's Tristan Thompson just blew past Garnett for a dunk, and moments later he let a pass from Rajon Rondo just sail in front of him, out of bounds.

Garnett, who at his best just plays the game, appeared at times to be too deep in thought, seemingly trying to figure what he could do to help a teammate instead of just playing the game.

During the C's rougher-than-expected season, Garnett has challenged both himself and his teammates to look within themselves first and foremost in trying to figure out how to get this team on track.

For Garnett, those soul-searching moments have yet to reveal the solution that he's so desperately seeking to discover.

"I don't know man; I don't know man. I want it so bad," Garnett said. "I have to find a balance. Some of the things I messed up on tonight, that's not me.

Garnett added, "I have to be better. I have to do better. I have to be more effective for 48 minutes, regardless."

He finished with 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting, along with five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a season-high five blocked shots.

It was a game in which Garnett delivered yet another good, but not great performance.

And as he sat inside the Celtics locker room, pulling his hoodie back for a minute or so, it was clear that the frustration of what has been a season of struggles, was getting to him.

Not because of the losing; but because up to this point, there was very little that he could do to prevent it from happening.

And there lies the challenge, within the challenge. Garnett has to figure out what he can do to help the C's be more successful, but not allow that search-and-discovery mission take him down a path in which he makes more miscues for trying too hard to make everything better.

"You can find yourself wanting this a lot to the point where you mess up and make mistakes," Garnett said. "It's a human game. You gonna make mistakes. I just have to be better, period. No excuses. No (bleep). I have to be better, period."

Horford: 'Trying to figure out the best way to help' after Hurricane Maria

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Horford: 'Trying to figure out the best way to help' after Hurricane Maria

CANTON, Mass. –  Hurricane Maria ravaged a number of Caribbean Islands, including the Dominican Republic – the home of Boston Celtics big man Al Horford.

“My immediate family is OK,” Horford told CSNNE.com during Boston’s Media Day on Monday. “But we look at everything in the big picture. We were very lucky in comparison to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, a lot of smaller islands.”

Hurricane Maria hit the Dominican Republic with heavy wind and rain but delivered a much more powerful punch to other islands.

Puerto Rico has been devastated by the storm which has knocked out most of the electricity on the island along with heavy flooding.

The U.S. Virgin Islands was hit hard as well.

While the Dominican Republic wasn’t hit quite as hard as some other islands, they too are going through what’s likely to be an extended recovery period.

“We do have a lot of flooding,” Horford said of the Dominican Republic. “There’s a lot of need.”

Horford intends to address that need in some capacity.

“Right now, we’re trying to figure out the best way to help down there,” he said. “We want to make sure whatever we do as far as money and help-wise, it’s going to the people in need.”

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Stevens says new challenges haven't changed Celtics' expectations

Stevens says new challenges haven't changed Celtics' expectations

CANTON, Mass. – There is no way around it.

When conversations shift towards the best teams in the NBA, the Boston Celtics are one of the first teams talked about.

With that elevated status comes increased expectations, the kind that will kick into full gear when the team begins practice.

But within those expectations is the reality that despite the increased talent pool Brad Stevens will have to work with this season, there will still be an adjustment period.

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Increased expectations and maintaining a sense of urgency while being patient with the team gelling, will be among the biggest challenges awaiting Boston this season.

But head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t believe it will be an issue his team will contend with this season.

“Our expectations haven’t changed so there’s no balance,” Stevens said. “You do what you do, work every day to try to be the best you can be. We know what goal is in Boston; that’s stated pretty clearly with the banners that hang above us. Ultimately that has nothing to do with how good we become tomorrow and the next day. We just focus on the process.”

And that process begins in earnest on Tuesday with the first day of training camp.

“We’re looking forward to getting to work as a full team,” Stevens said.

Despite having a team with 10 new players, the expectations have not been any higher than they are now for Stevens who is entering his fifth season as Boston’s head coach.

He has a roster that includes a trio of All-Stars in Al Horford (4), Gordon Hayward (1) and Kyrie Irving (4), with a combined nine All-Star appearances among them.

Boston also has a talented but youthful roster outside of their Big Three that includes second-year wing Jaylen Brown and first-round pick Jayson Tatum not to mention returners Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier who will both be competing for prominent roles in the Celtics’ rotation this season.

The additions made by Boston should help balance out an offense that will continue to look for ways to score.

“We have a lot of new pieces,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “But I feel like we’re moving in the right direction as a team.”

Part of that progress involves not only getting the new guys up to speed, but also internal growth from among the handful of players back from last season’s squad.

The most talked about returnee on Monday was Marcus Smart, who comes into training camp having lost nearly 20 pounds.

Smart said he weighed 223 points after having weighed himself earlier on Monday, which is down from his playing weight of last season which hovered around the 240-pound mark.

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said the organization talked to Smart about the need for him to lose weight this summer.

Smart agreed.

The added weight began to bother him during the playoffs, leading to increased back pain and sleepless nights.

“I remember times putting on my shirt and tucking my stomach in because I didn’t like how it looked,” Smart said. “And that pain was causing me, I was always tired, I wasn’t as explosive and I was exerting so much energy to go out there every day and do the things I been doing my whole life. I wasn’t too fond of that. I knew I had to change.”

And when it comes to the Celtics heading into this season, change is indeed an appropriate description for this team.

But for newcomer Kyrie Irving, dealing with change is nothing new.

When LeBron James returned to Cleveland three years ago, it was expected to usher in a wave of victories from the outset.

Instead, the Cavs opened the season with a 5-6 start before getting on track and advancing to the first of three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.

“It definitely, definitely attributes to figuring out how patient you are at that moment,” Irving said when I asked him about that slow start in Cleveland. That takes a while. You have to be very patient in your approach. I speak on that pretty often. So it’s not trying to figure out one thing or a few things in one day or after one game. It’s going to come in waves, man. These ups and downs we’re about to face as a team, as a collective group it’s going to be fairly interesting.  It’ll really echo in terms of our identity, how we respond. I’m looking forward to that aspect.”

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