LAS VEGAS -- Having posted a 6-1 record so far through seven Summer League games between Orlando and Las Vegas, it's clear this Celtics squad has come together in a manner not typically seen over the usual summer slate. Credit this young, upstart group with embracing a mindset not unlike the official NBA version of the Celtics has in recent seasons. Just like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers stress team over individual, several players, including those on non-guaranteed deals, have touched on the importance of placing the team ahead of themselves.
Second-year guard E'Twaun Moore, one of those players working on a non-guaranteed deal (the Celtics have until midnight Sunday to decide if they want to guarantee it), stressed after Tuesday's 79-74 victory over the Bulls that by "just playing basketball" he's been able to remain focused on helping Boston toward a 5-0 record. Rookie Kris Joseph, also dealing with the pressure of not having a guaranteed deal, echoed Moore's thoughts.
"We had Orlando and coming to Vegas, I think that gave us kind of like an edge, because we had chemistry already," Joseph said on Monday. "We played a whole week together, so it's great. We came out here, all we're trying to do is win basketball games and we've been able to do that so far.
"At the end of the day, I'm just trying to play basketball. If you start thinking [about securing a roster spot] you can start to get a little overanxious. I'm just trying to play ball the way I know how, the way I've been doing it, and that's what it's been so far, just playing well, playing within myself and the team concept."
Joseph hyperextended his left knee in the first half of Tuesday's win over the Bulls. Even after a day off Wednesday, he'll most likely be questionable for Thursday's evening bout with the Sacramento Kings. Earlier in the week, Joseph stressed the importance of remaining immune to the pressure of trying to secure a long-term job.
"I don't feel pressure, I don't put pressure on myself, just because it's just basketball. At the end of the day, I want to have fun doing this. It's something I've been doing my whole life," he said.
Celtics Summer League coach Tyronn Lue deserves credit for keeping his club focused on winning over personal accolades, saying earlier in the week that he and his staff won't hesitate to tell a player when he's stepped away from the team concept.
"We don't care about missed shots, we don't care about turnovers," Lue explained. "We want to play hard, play together and just be aggressive. If you mess up, we don't care about that. We want you to play the right way, play hard. If you're doing too much, we'll let you know."