Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality

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Newcomers buy into Celts' playoff mentality

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

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 CSNNE.com 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 jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.