Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality

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Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

Only a fraction of the 2010 Boston Celtics team that fell one win shy of an NBA championship is on the Cs playoff roster this postseason. The faces may be different this time around, but the new players have bought in to the Celtics playoff mentality. Jeff Green Nenad Krstic, Sasha Pavlovic, and Von Wafer talked to CSNNE.com about how the Celtics approach to the playoffs compares to their previous postseason experiences.

Nenad Krstic
Last postseason Nenad Krstic played alongside the leagues leading scorer, Kevin Durant, on the Oklahoma City Thunder. This season, he is adjusting to a Celtics team whose title hunt is rooted in defense.

Here it is more detailed. Were learning their (the opponents) plays and were repeating through the practice the small details. Im not saying the Thunder arent doing the same thing, but when I was on the team we were more focusing offensively -- what can we do to score? Defensively we were doing some stuff, but not like detailed work here.

Von Wafer
Von Wafer was tossed from the Houston Rockets bench by head coach Rick Adelman for complaining about playing time during the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Two years later, he has a new outlook on the Celtics, even when he isnt on the court.

Oh the Celtics approach is different, a lot more focus. These guys arent playing around, so youve just got to be on your Ps and Qs. Its a different type of focus. They just turn it up a notch. Everybody turns it up. It helps me a lot because Ive got to be even more focused than those guys and stay on my Ps and Qs.

Sasha Pavlovic
Sasha Pavlovic made four consecutive postseason appearances with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Celtics during the Cs 2008 title run. After a few months in Boston this season, he has an idea of what those Cavs clubs were missing.

The approach is pretty much the same but the guys are different. When I played in the playoffs with the Cavs, we had a younger team and a lot of guys that had never been in the playoffs before. Here, thats the only difference because we have a lot of guys who have been there before and we have more experience than we did with the Cavs. I think it helps a lot because if we had a couple of guys like that in Cleveland when we played, we would have been a lot better.

Jeff Green
Last season Green was part of a young Oklahoma City Thunder squad that turned heads by pushing the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. He looks to continue that fighting mentality in his playoff run with the Celtics.

The Celtics approach is a little bit more intense, but the ultimate goal is always the same. Do your studying on the team and do your best when you go out there.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBAShe can bereached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

Highlights: Atlanta Hawks 114, Boston Celtics 98

Highlights: Atlanta Hawks 114, Boston Celtics 98

Tempers flared between the Celtics and Hawks, but Atlanta was able to get the best of Boston as they get the victory in the TD Garden.

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics got their butts kicked (again) on the boards Monday night by the Atlanta Hawks who defeated them 114-98.

The Celtics get their butts kicked most nights on the boards, and yet still find a way to win more often than not.

That’s why the possibility of adding Andrew Bogut who was bought out by Philadelphia is so intriguing.

Once he clears waivers on Wednesday, he’ll officially be a man in high demand with teams trying to show him love as if he was Kevin Durant or LeBron James.

But as much as the 31-year-old center on paper seems like a good addition to the Celtics roster because of his rebounding prowess and rim protection on defense, here’s what you have to keep in mind with Bogut or any other player Danny Ainge and the C's front-office brass decides to bring through that door.

Whatever team a new guy joins, he’ll look to play decent minutes and showcase his skills with unrestricted free agency around the corner this summer.

As far as Bogut is concerned, he's one of the more underrated members of Golden State's title squad in 2016.

Draymond Green's all-around game, Steph Curry’s 3-point bombs and Klay Thompson’s two-way talent were all key to the Warriors winning a title two years ago. But lost in their success among fans was Bogut’s defense which covered up for a lot of mistakes, miscues and blown assignments.

Whatever team Bogut signs with, ideally he would be looking to provide that same interior presence.

But here’s another issue.

Adding Bogut means waiving a player, most likely a young player that the Celtics will have essentially decided to give up on.

Since Bogut is a big, the logical target of being waived is Jordan Mickey.

The second-round pick from 2015 has shown improvement, but not nearly enough to garner steady minutes or even sporadic time on this roster.

Amir Johnson and Al Horford are the starters, with Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko rounding out their four-man big rotation so they're not going anywhere.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens typically plays those four bigs every night, so the idea of adding a fifth to the regular rotation doesn’t make sense.

Will one of those four be cool with not playing some nights or having their minutes severely carved up?

Would Bogut be cool with sometimes playing in games, or sometimes playing the role of waving a towel supporting his team from the bench?

And how does his presence affect chemistry which is a major deal for this team and its success this season.

Boston’s bigs in terms of rebounding, have not been good all season.

We can all agree on that.

And yet despite those struggles, they have the second-best record in the East (38-22) along with being a top-5 or top-6 team record-wise in the NBA.

They’re able to win because they have solid talent and Teflon-strong bonds to where they don't just play with each other, but for each other every night. 

We have seen stretches this season when the minutes have been cut or wiped out altogether for rotation players like Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko and Jaylen Brown.

And yet during the time when they are not playing as much, you never hear any public grumbling or private bickering among themselves or to the media.

There is a high level of accountability with Brad Stevens-coached teams that if you’re doing your job well, you’ll play. If not, your minutes might go to a teammate.

The best example of this came earlier this season when Gerald Green was essentially a practice player until Christmas Day when he came up big in Boston’s win over the New York Knicks.

Green saw more minutes going forward, but soon found himself struggling to get on the floor afterwards on some nights and the man whose minutes he took – Rozier – was back in the playing mix. 

During those times when Rozier wasn't playing, he said Green was a fixture in his ear, offering words of encouragement regardless of whether he was playing a lot or not at all. 

“Gerald’s always encouraging me, encouraging the young guys to just keep working, be patient and when your time comes, run with it,” Rozier recently told CSNNE.com. “He’s been a great vet for us young guys.”

And while Bogut wouldn’t come in looking to mess with the team’s chemistry, that doesn’t matter.

Anytime a new guy is added to the mix, it has the potential to be a really good pick-up or a potentially catastrophic equation of subtraction by addition.

In talking with a league executive who Bogut played for earlier in his career, he said Bogut would be a good addition to the Celtics roster from a basketball standpoint.

“But you never know about how they fit outside of that,” the executive told CSNNE.com. “As we’ve seen, sometimes it’s just as important that guys click off the court as it is that they can play together on it. I don’t think that would be an issue, but with new guys and not knowing how that locker room works and its dynamics, you just never really know how it’ll play out.

The executive added, “But if they can get him after the Philly buyout, do it. He can help them. His strength is their weakness; it makes a lot of sense for both sides honestly.”