Sunday's practice report
KG still feeling good after back-to-back sessions
After engaging in back-to-back practice sessions this weekend, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett deemed himself in good health and expressed excitement in just being able to help his team out again after missing 10 games with a hyperextended right knee.
"It's good to be back," said Garnett. "I'm trying to help. When you're out, you see the game from a whole new perspective. You try to convey that to the guys that are playing, but it's not the same thing as doing it yourself. It's good be back helping my teammates and trying to get something going here."
Garnett, who compared himself to 1976 Ford Pinto after Friday's overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers, engaged in more car talk Sunday, including a query about when the Pinto will be running at full steam again.
"The Pinto had some minor adjustments and it's ready to roll," said Garnett. "Tire change, transmission check -- everything is where it needs to be. At the same time, it's still a '76, and its first oil change, that's what it is.
"I'm not a fortune teller, nor am I a doctor, but I am a person who works really hard at what I do. I'm a hard worker and I come in here every day with the same intensity, the same mindset to get better. That's what it is. I have no timetable. You can go through each team [in the NBA], every team has a guy beat up on the roster. I'm not different."
Celtics players lobbied hard for a noon practice Sunday for one reason: the NFL playoffs. Even coach Doc Rivers admitted he was headed home to watch the conference championship games.
"I love [the NFL playoffs], it's good to see what happens and how people handle the games. I'm looking forward to both games," said Rivers. "I don't [have a rooting interest]. I'm Bears and Patriots, then the underdogs. I like [Minnesota quarterback Brett] Favre because he's old as dust, he's a 40-ish guy. I wouldn't mind seeing him do well, but I think it's going to be a tough game."
Asked if any players had a rooting interest, particularly Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who would seem to be a New Orleans Saints fan giving his roots in Louisiana, Rivers admitted there hadn't been too much gridiron chatter in the gym.
"Baby is for whoever is good that day," joked Rivers. "I don't know, it's unusual for our team, there hasn't been a lot of talk about the games. All their teams are out. But they did want practice at 12, so that means something -- that means they wanted to watch the games."
High volume, high intensity practice
For the second straight day, the Celtics practiced for little more than an hour, but Rivers and his players stressed that they crammed plenty into the session.
"Practice was really good, we got a lot of stuff done in a short period of time," said Rivers. "Yesterday we had an open practice, so that takes a little bit out of it, but we got some work into it and didn't go too hard. We went harder today, but short because we still have to be careful with practice due to injuries. We still can't go as long as we'd like to go or do as much as we'd like to do, but that's part of the NBA season. We understand that."
Rivers continued to rotate his big men out, including Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Davis, noting it was "just to keep them fresh."
The sweat pouring down Garnett's head after the session proved it was no walkthrough.
"Our practices are like games," he said. "It might not be 48 minutes, but it's high volume, high intensity. Some days we go longer than others, some days we need it."
In Saturday's practice notes, we detailed Paul Pierce's optimism about the second half of the season as Boston returns to health. Check out the video above for more from Pierce, including his thoughts on reestablishing home-court dominance and the lift the return of Garnett will provide. Two great quotes from the Celtics' captain during this clip:
* On Garnett's return: “[The Celtics had a] lot more energy [Friday] and a lot of that had to do with our emotional leader coming back in Kevin Garnett. We expect to just really build on that. Our goal is to finish strong going into the All-Star break."
* On reestablishing home-court dominance: “Our goal before the season was to try to get home-court advantage, but we haven't been doing a good job of protecting home court. We've done a good job on the road and, if we do [protect home] our record would be a whole lot better. We have to get back to being stingy at home and not letting teams think they can come in here and get wins."
* Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo were all over director of basketball development Tyronn Lue about how to do a proper push-up at the end of practice. Check out this picture of Allen showing Lue his proper form.
So what exactly is the proper art of the push-up?
"Go down and come back up in one piece," joked Allen. "No, we always have something to talk about around here. We're so competitive. One of the most important things is that we're brothers and we're trying to find ways to tear each other down, but at the same time, in a competitive way to make each other better. It's all in good fun."
* Celtics forward Marquis Daniels got in some shooting at the end of practice and continues to look good as he regains range of motion in his surgically-repaired left thumb.
* After KG's Pinto talk, Rivers and Allen were asked about what cars they drove in high school. Rivers said he had a Buick Skylark, but it didn't have the backseat because it got burnt and his father wouldn't pay to repair it. Needless to say, Rivers didn't drive on many double dates. As for Allen, he said he didn't have a car in high school. He said he simply rode a skateboard.
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