Krstic 'grateful' to join the Celtics


Krstic 'grateful' to join the Celtics

By RichLevine

LOS ANGELES Hes the lesser known part of the Celtics massive trade deadline move, but seven-foot Serbain center Nenad Krstic is still just as eager to get started on his Boston Celtics career, and more than thankful for the opportunity hell have for the rest of the season with Cs.

Im really grateful to be part of the Boston Celtics, Krstic said on Saturday after the teams morning shoot around at UCLA. I was shocked for like three days. I didnt expect any trades. This is the first time in my life Ive been traded, so Im still in a little shock but Im very happy to be here to be with this team and this organization.

Krstic wont have the luxury to remain in shock much longer, though. With Shaquille ONeal and Jermaine ONeal still recovering from injury, and Semih Erden now with the Cavaliers, Krstic is the Celtics lone healthy center, and until Shaq returns sometime in the next week or so, hell serve as the Celtics starting center. Eventually, his role will figure more prominently with the second unit, but until then, Krstic is ready for whatever Doc Rivers asks him to do.

I didnt even talk to the coach about that yet, Krstic said about his role. This is the first time Ive met all these guys. Whatever my role is, Im great with that. I dont really care about he minutes or anything because Im really happy to be here.

While he hasnt had much time with Rivers, Krstic does have a history with another Celtics coach. He played for four years in New Jersey under then head coach Lawrence Frank, who now serves as Bostons assistant. Krstic believes that time with Frank will be important as he adjusts to life in Green.

It helps a lot, he said of Frank. I played with him four years in Jersey and we really had a good time there. Hes really going to help me a lot.

What will also help him is the invaluable experience of his All-Star teammates. Obviously, hes yet to spend much time with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, but after one practice, Krstic is already excited about all that the other Celtics have to offer.

It was amazing, he said. Those guys are all All -Stars. Theyve been in the league so many years, and theyre just trying to help me with the offensive sets. Defensively too, and its great. Im looking forward to playing with these. Im really happy. This is just my first impression but this is going to be fun.

But he also knows that in Boston, unlike any other situation hes been in during his career, that fun can only be had if they win the title. And while, especially coming off an upstart situation in Oklahoma City, that might take some adjustment, Krstic is ecstatic over the opportunity to play with so much on the line.

This is my first time with a team like this, he said, where they want to win right now. Its going to be a great experience, just to learn so much from these guys. Hopefully were going to win the championship and Ill go back to Serbia with a ring.

RichLevine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Rich can be reached at Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.



C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.



Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.



Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.