Pregame: Back to work for C's

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens took his place in front of the media circle before Wednesday's visit from the Toronto Raptors and there was an uncomfortably long pause before the first question arrived.

"Thanks coach!" one media member quipped from the back of the pack, the exchange typically reserved for the end of Stevens' confab.

The Celtics enjoyed four days off from game action leading up to Wednesday's tilt and -- players, coaches, and media members alike -- seemed ready for something to break that monotony. Stevens did think a couple days of practice were good for his team, particularly considering the lack of offday sessions in recent weeks.

"I think practices have been spirited in large part because it’s the same thing that we went back to in October: There’s not a lot of difference, up and down our roster, so there’s a lot of competitiveness in practice," said Stevens. "On any day, your second team can beat your first team and vice versa. That’s been a positive. Guys seem to like to compete in practice; guys seem to like to get after it. And I think that helps each and every individual. I think that keeps your practices pretty good even throughout the course of a long season."

The Celtics will stick with their recent starting 5 in Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Kris Humphries. Boston has lost six of its last seven.

"We need to make sure that hopefully we can build off [the recent practices] and get better," said Stevens. "I thought all 12 guys that were able to go through it, went through it. We maintained health and got a little work together on both ends of the floor, so that’s a positive couple days."