Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality


Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality

By JessicaCamerato

Only a fraction of the 2010 Boston Celtics team that fell one win shy of an NBA championship is on the Cs playoff roster this postseason. The faces may be different this time around, but the new players have bought in to the Celtics playoff mentality. Jeff Green Nenad Krstic, Sasha Pavlovic, and Von Wafer talked to about how the Celtics approach to the playoffs compares to their previous postseason experiences.

Nenad Krstic
Last postseason Nenad Krstic played alongside the leagues leading scorer, Kevin Durant, on the Oklahoma City Thunder. This season, he is adjusting to a Celtics team whose title hunt is rooted in defense.

Here it is more detailed. Were learning their (the opponents) plays and were repeating through the practice the small details. Im not saying the Thunder arent doing the same thing, but when I was on the team we were more focusing offensively -- what can we do to score? Defensively we were doing some stuff, but not like detailed work here.

Von Wafer
Von Wafer was tossed from the Houston Rockets bench by head coach Rick Adelman for complaining about playing time during the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Two years later, he has a new outlook on the Celtics, even when he isnt on the court.

Oh the Celtics approach is different, a lot more focus. These guys arent playing around, so youve just got to be on your Ps and Qs. Its a different type of focus. They just turn it up a notch. Everybody turns it up. It helps me a lot because Ive got to be even more focused than those guys and stay on my Ps and Qs.

Sasha Pavlovic
Sasha Pavlovic made four consecutive postseason appearances with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Celtics during the Cs 2008 title run. After a few months in Boston this season, he has an idea of what those Cavs clubs were missing.

The approach is pretty much the same but the guys are different. When I played in the playoffs with the Cavs, we had a younger team and a lot of guys that had never been in the playoffs before. Here, thats the only difference because we have a lot of guys who have been there before and we have more experience than we did with the Cavs. I think it helps a lot because if we had a couple of guys like that in Cleveland when we played, we would have been a lot better.

Jeff Green
Last season Green was part of a young Oklahoma City Thunder squad that turned heads by pushing the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. He looks to continue that fighting mentality in his playoff run with the Celtics.

The Celtics approach is a little bit more intense, but the ultimate goal is always the same. Do your studying on the team and do your best when you go out there.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBAShe can bereached at

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”

Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice

Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice

WALTHAM, Mass. – At the end of Tuesday’s practice, the Boston Celtics donned a new-look jersey that was, well, quite colorful compared to the green-and-white clad uni-tops they usually wear.
It was in support of longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is currently fighting the good fight in a three-year-battle with leukemia, as well as the SagerStrong foundation.
The NBA on TNT, Nike and the Golden State Warriors will honor the 65-year-old Sager on opening night with Sager-inspired t-shirts, shirts that the Celtics wore on Tuesday followed by a team picture in which all the players as well as Boston’s coaches and support staff, yelled "Sager strong."
“A guy that means a lot to this game of basketball, a guy that means a lot to the NBA, the NBA family,” said Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas in describing Sager. “We wish him well, praying for him and his family daily.”
The shirts were inspired by the outfit he wore when he accepted the Jimmy Valvano Award at the ESPYs this past summer.
“The shirts are nice; look like something he would wear,” Thomas said with a grin. “I wouldn’t wear it, but I know he would.”