Krstic plays freely in return from injury

191544.jpg

Krstic plays freely in return from injury

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON When players are hurt, the time off the court tends to give them a perspective that they didn't necessarily have earlier.

Need proof?

Look no further than Boston's Nenad Krstic, whose play off the bench was among the many reasons Boston was able to pull away for a 99-82 win over Philadelphia.

The Celtics (54-23) got eight points and six rebounds from Krstic, who came off the bench for the first time since being traded to Boston on Feb. 24.

More significant than the games played, was the two games he did not play in after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee against San Antonio last week.

Prior to the injury, Krstic was playing some of his worst basketball since becoming a Celtic.

Too often he would be out of position defensively.

And on offense, he would wait too long around the basket to make a move rather than take it up strong quickly.

"Maybe this is a good thing, missing two games," Krstic said. "Everything settled down in my head a little bit. Just sitting outside, watching the other guys playing. I think it helps."

When Krstic first arrived, he played with little thought on the court.

And the results were surprisingly positive.

But the more he tried to learn the various sets and the way the Celtics go about doing things, the more mistakes crept into his game.

On more than one occasion in recent weeks, Rivers has lit into Krstic for allowing his mistakes on offense to distract him from his job defensively.

But on Tuesday, it was clear that Krstic got back to just playing, and not thinking so much.

"You know what I say: thinking hurts the team," Rivers said. "I just thought he played with instincts. And he's starting to get our stuff a little bit better, too."

That combination gives the Celtics a player that help them in multiple ways.

For Krstic, he admits that the time off has helped him become even more comfortable with his new teammates.

"I got here first couple weeks. I realize I was thinking about making the right play, every play," Krstic said. "It's not going to help; just play basketball. Even if I make a mistake, Rivers is going to yell at me for five seconds. Just next play."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup