LOS ANGELES -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers knows newcomers Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic have had to absorb a lot of information over the last 24 hours, so his instructions to them before Saturday's tilt with the Los Angeles Clippers was simple: Go play.
"I told them both: Just play hard," said Rivers. "Play free. If you're open, shoot. Don't try to fit in, we'll fit in -- we'll figure it out. Right now, we just have to try to win a couple games and slowly get some practices under our belt to get them integrated more. So go for it, just go out and play."
As Rivers indicated at this morning's shootaround on the campus of UCLA, Krstic will start at center, while Green will come off the bench. He won't limit their minutes unless their unfamiliarity with the system is working against the Celtics. Regardless, Rivers knows there's going to be some bumps as the new players get comfortable, particularly in their Boston debuts.
But he doesn't want them to use that as an excuse to lose games.
"I told our guys, we're not managing anything," said Rivers. "We're still trying to win the games, as many as we can. We still want homecourt. We know it’ll be more difficult now and we're going to lose some rhythm here, but we still want to win the games while learning [and] not use this as an excuse to not win games."
With Boston's deadline moves raising eyebrows around the league, but especially in Los Angeles where so much has been made about how the lack of having center Kendrick Perkins cost Boston a world title in Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals in June, Rivers was asked if he was surprised by the reaction to the Celtics' bold moves.
"We don't make moves to worry about what people think, if you want me to be honest," said Rivers. "We make moves to try to win championships."