Delonte West returns to practice for Celtics


Delonte West returns to practice for Celtics

By A. Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics were down to just 10 healthy bodies in Wednesday's practice.

Fortunately for them, one of them was Delonte West.

The 6-foot-3 guard participated in his first full contact practice since suffering a broken right (non-shooting) wrist injury on Nov. 24 against New Jersey.

Still, don't expect West to be on the floor any time soon.

"He won't play tomorrow against the Lakers or probably will not play until after the break," said coach Doc Rivers. "But at least he had his first practice. "We told them, 'No reaching,' which is impossible with some of our guys. But other than that, we got through it."

With Paul Pierce not at practice on Thursday because he was under the weather and Marquis Daniels out with a bruised spinal cord injury, West's conditioning was put to the test immediately because the C's didn't really have the ability to substitute players in and out.

"I had to get on out there sooner than I expected, but I definitely surprised myself," West said. "I was able to go full contact. I got in there, scrapped it around with the big guys a little bit."

One of the last players to leave the gym after most practices, conditioning is not going to be an issue for West.

However, his timing is admittedly not where it needs to be which isn't all that surprising when you consider Wednesday was his first contact practice.

"A lot of things working at the same time; re-think the plays and also dealing with this starting five, one of the best defenses in the league. That's the way to welcome you back," West said.

His return can not come soon enough to a Celtics team that has played short-handed all season.

While West's return date is targeted for after the All-star break, he admitted he wouldn't mind getting on the floor sooner.

"If it was up to me, I'm confident in playing tomorrow against the Lakers," West said.

West expressed that confidence to Rivers as well as Ed Lacerte, the C's head trainer.

They weren't as convinced.

And if you listen to West, it's clear that he's not totally sold on the idea that he can come back and make the kind of impact that the C's will need in order to win.

"My timing was off; familiarity with the plays wasn't 100 percent," West said. "I guess in a game like tomorrow, we need 'for-sures' out there."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”