Boston Celtics

Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

763414.jpg

Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

Evan Turner grew up watching Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce play basketball.

He was a fan of the trio, each of whom are more than 10 years his senior. If he had attended public school, Turner would have went to Garnetts alma mater, Farragut Academy, in Chicago.

When Turner played against the Boston Celtics last season as a 22-year-old rookie on the Philadelphia 76ers, he was already familiar with his opponents from what he had seen of them on TV.

Then the veterans introduced him to their game in the NBA. They tested the young guard during his first year in the NBA, a challenge he appreciates now.

Watching them on TV and playing against them is two different things, Turner told CSNNE.com. First few times we played against them, they kicked our butts. One of the best things is getting your butts kicked and paying your dues. I cant say it enough -- paying your dues and earning the right to play well and earning the right to play well versus them, thats the most important thing.

The Celtics took the 2010-11 regular season series against the 76ers, 3-1. One year later, they are faced off in a Eastern Conference Semifinals series tied at one apiece.

After averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds against the C's as a rookie, Turner is posting 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the first two games of the series.

Rebounding is all about desire, he said. If you want to go get it, you go get it. Thats pretty much it. Thats how I was always taught. I dont look at it any other way. I just look at as they expect me to rebound and I want to go get the ball, Ill go get it in any situation.

Turners defense, combined with his ability to hit difficult shots thus far, has helped push the Sixers, who are headed back to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on their home court. The first two games of the series have been decided by one point each, the type of challenge Turner is up for.

Unlike other young players who have griped about the Celtics intense style of play over the years, he is taking it in and learning from it.

One thing about them is, theyre going to play tough, especially in playoff time, Turner said. Growing up, you could tell they played tough, theyre willing to put their chin in there to get a stop, and thats toughness. Thats what you learn, especially when theyre guarding you, you can tell how tough they are.

Even after beating the Celtics twice this regular season and taking Game 2 in the playoffs, remembering how he felt last season during the Cs victories will help Turner during this postseason, and moving forward in his career.

They enjoyed it, thats what was crazy, Turner said of the Celtics winning. Last season, they just enjoyed it. They kept coming back at you. Paul gets going, he starts talking. Same with Ray and everything. They were taking turns on you, seeing how tough you were. You had to toughen up. The whole thing with them was seeing how tough you were. And if not, they were going to run right over you.

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

cp-isaiah-thomas-gordon-hayward.jpg

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

MORE CELTICS:

"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

CSNNE SCHEDULE