NEW YORK -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens noted Monday that a game-heavy exhibition slate has already limited his team's ability to get much-needed practice and installation time. With that in mind, the Celtics are treating morning shootarounds before preseason games as practices instead of necessarily honing in on specific opponent game-planning like they might in the regular season.
"We were pretty focused as far as going through our stuff today," Stevens said after Boston's late-morning session at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in advance of Tuesday's tilt with the Nets. "We want to do the best job we can and simulate what a game day would be like, but we’re just not there yet. It’s much more focused on us than it is on Brooklyn. Today was as crisp a 50 minutes as we’ve had."
Celtics players were in no hurry to leave the court, either. Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, and MarShon Brooks were among a handful of players lingering on the court after the session, engaging in a long-distance shooting competitions. It was only the threat of the departing team bus -- with the team's travel and equipment manager John Connor joking that the players would have to catch cabs back to the hotel -- that brought the competition to an end.
The Celtics remained rather unemotional about tonight's game against the Nets, their first time seeing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on the other side (Pierce is expected to play, but Garnett is scheduled to sit out with the Nets on the second night of a back-to-back).
Asked if he's thought about what it will be like to see his former teammates in their Nets uniforms, Celtics guard Avery Bradley said, "Not really. Just seeing them period. I think that’s going to be pretty cool. We’re still like a family and when you haven’t see your family all summer and you see them, you’re kinda excited, so I can’t wait to see them."
As for the players traded from the Nets to Boston, there were some odd feelings being back in the Barclays Center.
Said Kris Humphries, "I think it was weird being on the bus going down the elevator. I’ve never really been on the bus as a visitor. I’m getting used to it. I’ve been on a number of different teams. It just comes with the territory."
Does he have a new outlook after a frustrating season with the Nets last year?
"I think everything is a new opportunity," he said. "We’ll see how everything plays out. You know last year, started off a starter, didn’t see some time for a little bit, then worked back into the rotation. I think we went through a lot, just with the rotation, different things last year. It was a tough year I think for a lot of guys, just the flow of what we were doing. Not to dwell on the past, it’s all about where I’m at now, and what we’re working towards now."