Friday FT's: Garnett preaches teamwork off the court

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Friday FT's: Garnett preaches teamwork off the court

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
When Marquis Daniels recently recounted his terrifying injury last season, he said it was Kevin Garnett who kept him calm while he lay temporarily paralyzed on the court. That moment offered a glimpse into Garnett the dedicated teammate, not just the fierce competitor.

On Thursday, Garnett called into the Dan Patrick Show and once again expressed his commitment to his we, not me team mentality.

While discussing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which Garnett will be playing this weekend with other NBA players, Patrick asked him if he would be a good teammate in video games.

Garnetts response was passionate.

Im a great teammate. I'm a great teammate in anything, he said. A teammate should be the same in anything. When you're a teammate you love to provide some assistance, some strength, vice versa, support, that's what I am. You get with a team, I just hate when you get with guys who are not team (players). I'm a great teammate in anything.

Patrick later jokingly asked Garnett if there was room for him on the Celtics bench to have a one-year deal -- I could be sort of a Scalabrine type, he offered.

"You willing to give up that body of yours, man?" Garnett questioned.

"Oh absolutely, absolutely," Patrick replied.

Scal gave up a lot, Garnett replied. He was big for us, man. I know people like to crack the little jokes about Scal. Scal's in the league for a reason.

Allen Golfs for a Cause
Ray Allen teed off for a good cause this week at the Birdies for Breast Cancer Liberty Cup charity golf tournament to battle breast cancer. The two-day event, which took place at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, was hosted by LPGA golfer Cristie Kerr and raised nearly 500,000 for charitable organizations. Allen was joined by LPGA players, two-time U.S. Open champ Andy North, and actor Kyle MacLachlan, among others. Click here to see photos of Allen at the tournament.

Your Shot to Play for the Red Claws
Can you ball? The Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, will be holding open tryouts on October 1 at Competitive Edge in King of Prussia, PA. The one-day tryout, which is scheduled to run from 9:00am 4:00pm, will include team drills, individual skills work, and scrimmages. Red Claws GM and President Jon Jennings, Head Coach Dave Leitao, and other staff will be in attendance to evaluate prospects. Think you have what it takes? Last year two hopefuls from open tryouts earned invitations to training camp and played for the Red Claws during the 2010-11 season. Tryout fees are 150 in advance or 200 at the door. For more information (including eligibility requirements) and to download a registration form, visit www.maineredclaws.com.

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@paulpierce34: Me and Mike had a great trip to china and since when did I ever have asthma

Celtics Birthdays of the Week
Jeff Green turned 25 on August 28. He averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games after being traded to the Celtics in February . . . Hall of Famer Robert Parish celebrated his 58th birthday on August 30. Parish, a nine-time All-Star, won three championships with the Celtics in the 1980s. He is the NBAs all-time leader in games played (1,611) . . . Former Celtic (and current Los Angeles Clipper) Ryan Gomes turned 29 on September 1. Gomes was drafted by the Cs out of Providence College in 2005 and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007 as part of the Kevin Garnett deal . . . Nate Tiny Archibald turned 63 on September 2. The Hall of Famer played five seasons for the Celtics and won a title with the team in 1981 . . . Former Celtics training camp invitee Esteban Bautista also turned 28 on September 2. The native of Uruguay has been playing basketball in Europe.
This Week in Celtics History
The Celtics signed a series of key role players during this week over the past four years: James Posey (August 27, 2007), Marquis Daniels (September 1, 2009), and Delonte West (September 1, 2010). All three players added versatility, depth, and veteran experience to the Cs bench. While Daniels and West battled were hampered by injuries, Poseys contributions were critical to the Celtics 2008 championship run.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

WALTHAM, Mass. – When the news came out that Al Horford was going to be a Boston Celtic, Amir Johnson couldn’t wait to meet his new teammate.

He didn’t have to.

Johnson soon found himself on plane headed to Atlanta to not only work out with Horford, but also try and work out some of the kinks that tend to come up among new teammates in those early days of training camp.

“I took it upon myself when I saw Al was part of the team, I automatically wanted to go down to Atlanta and work,” said Johnson who added that he brought his daughter along for the trip and they went to dinner with Horford’s family during the visit. “I thought it was great just to get that chemistry going. I just wanted to get to known him, make him feel comfortable.”

It’s still early in training camp, but Johnson and Horford seem to be meshing quite well on the floor. 

“The chemistry’s definitely coming along,” Johnson said. “I know when Al wants to roll or pop, and just working my way around it. Al’s more of a popper and eventually he’ll roll. It’s up to me to read whether I stay up or work the baseline.”

Johnson has been in the NBA long enough to know that often the keys to success are subtle nuances that may be overlooked by fans and spectators, but players know are essential to them being successful.

Being able to not only understand a player’s game but figure out how to play well with them, are critical to teammates being successful.

Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man which is a role the 29-year-old Johnson has been cast in the last few years he was in Toronto. Horford brings a similar set of defensive skills to the table which gives Boston a true 1-2 defensive punch along the frontline.

“It’s big time,” Johnson said. “We communicate to each other. It’s all about communication out there; just knowing he can hold it down and he trusts me to hold it down. It’s key.”

GREEN INJURY UPDATE

Gerald Green is expected to get a few more days to rest his hip flexor injury which he said on Thursday was feeling better.

The injury should keep the 6-6 wing from participating in the team’s Green-White scrimmage on Friday, but it isn’t considered serious.

Still, Green is eager to get back and return to full contact work which is why he is getting a steady diet of treatments during the day and returning in the evening for more treatments from the Celtics’ medical staff.

“It’s almost like a precautionary thing; make sure it doesn’t get worst,” Green said.

The injury occurred earlier this week but Green could not pinpoint exactly what he did to suffer the injury.

“I don’t think I stretched properly,” Green said. “I’m not 25 no more. Just try to come out there and go at full speed. Those are things I’ve got to learn now I’m in my 30s.”
Indeed, one of the many benefits of being older now is that Green sees the big picture of things better now, which is why he isn’t trying to rush back to the floor too quickly.

As a veteran, it’s a long season,” Green said. “You’re not trying to do too much to make it worst. Training camp is important, but being healthy at the beginning of the season is even more important.”

RUN, YOUNGSTERS, RUN

Near the end of Thursday’s practice, the Celtics had a full court game of 3-on-3 involving some of the team’s rookies and end-of-the-bench training camp invitees like Jalen Jones of Texas A&M. The 6-7 undrafted rookie had a dunk over Jordan Mickey, a 3-pointer and another strong, uncontested flush at the rim in a matter of minutes. He’s likely to wind up with Boston’s Developmental League team, the Maine Red Claws.

With Thursday morning’s session being the team’s fifth practice this season, head coach Brad Stevens thought it was a good idea to get some of the team’s younger players on the court.

“It was good to play some 3-on-3,” said Stevens who added that it was good for their conditioning since a lot of the running at this point involves trying to get the starters and the likely rotation players as acclimated and familiar with one another as possible. “We try to do that occasionally even through the season just to get everybody up and down.”

TURNOVERS? WHAT TURNOVERS?

Five practices in the books and there’s only one thing that really has stood out to the eyes of Isaiah Thomas.

It’s turnovers.

Apparently the Celtics haven’t committed too many thus far.

“We haven’t turned the ball over as much as teams usually do the first couple of days,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to learn the system, trying to get everybody familiar with what we do. But we’ve been playing well together. Guys are playing hard. Guys have gotten better, worked on their game.”

Ball-handling will be one of the areas to watch during the preseason as the Celtics look to find a replacement for Evan Turner (Portland) who has been one of the team’s best ball-handlers the past couple of seasons.

The Celtics were middle-of-the-pack last season with 13.5 turnovers per game which ranked 14th in the NBA.

Low turnovers often serve as a common trait among playoff teams. Just last season, eight of the top-nine teams in fewest turnovers committed, were in the playoffs.