Camp fire: Playoff practice for C's
October, 10, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers welcomed his team home from a weeklong European adventure by stretching out their lungs Wednesday with a spirited two-and-a-half-hour, cardio-heavy practice.
Kevin Garnett dubbed it a "playoff practice" given the physical nature on the court and Rivers' penchant for cardio work. And while Rivers laughed off the notion that it was playoff caliber, he admitted it was a good return to camp normalcy for his squad.
"We just ran them a lot and we did a lot of stuff. It was a hard practice, but I thought we needed it off the trip," Rivers said. "We took two days off, which we would never do in training camp, and I think we have to get in better shape. With all that, you have a hard practice."
Rivers noted how, while the trip to Turkey and Milan was good from a bonding perspective, the basketball activities were somewhat shortened due to the lengthy travel. Rivers reacclimatized his players to camp basketball on Wednesday.
"I think today was just a conditioning practice," Rajon Rondo said. "A lot of conditioning. Non-stop, short breaks. But we needed it. Especially off of the long plane ride."
Rivers added, "We had some good practices over there, we had a couple of them. But overall, everything was shorter, you had to be careful because guys were still jet-lagged. The trip was a good trip for us. Now we can get back to work."
A handful of notes from Wednesday's session:
* Rivers didn't reveal much on Chris Wilcox, who sat out again and hasn't been on the floor since taking a hard hit in the Celtics' first official practice on Sept. 29. "Sore back," Rivers said. "Other than that, I don’t really know."
* Avery Bradley wore a practice uniform and was spotted observing from the baseline when practice opened to reporters, but Rivers said he is still nowhere close to contact activities. "He’s a ways away," Rivers said. "He hasn’t been doing anything with us."
* The team closed practice with players running skeleton offensive sets up and down the court. The first unit, as it was during Sunday's game in Milan, featured Garnett, Rondo, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and rookie Jared Sullinger. Rivers didn't shy away from the idea that Sullinger could be a starter when the season opens later this month and said the team is exploring numerous options, including multiple starting lineups. That could include one grouping with Darko Milicic at center and Garnett sliding back to power forward to ease the wear and tear on the veteran big man early in the season. "There’s a lot of thought, we may go to a transitional lineup, have three different lineups," Rivers said. "We put a lot of thought into it, we’ll just figure it out."
* Rivers on his favorite moment from the trip: "Oh gosh, I don’t know. There’s a lot of little ones. I don’t know if I had one favorite moment. I think when I put that first piece of pasta in my mouth in Milan, that might have been my favorite moment. That was terrific. The restaurant I went to was unbelievable. I actually tried to get my coaches to go for lunch the next day and dinner the next day."
* Rondo on his favorite moment: "Milan." Pressed on why, he added: "Just Milan. What happens in -- nah, I'm just playing."
* After Rondo called Sullinger the most intelligent rookie during his time in Boston, he was asked if that included himself. Rondo smiled and quipped again, "Oh, no, I think I'm the smartest player."
* Garnett emerged from the weight room to conduct his post-practice interview, but a camera man was in his path to his preferred spot to sit. A playful Garnett winded up like a softball pitcher and delivered a monster pat on the backside that left an entire pack of reporters jumping. After his chat with the media, Garnett checked back on the cameraman and, informed he was doing just fine, quipped, "Go ice your [backside], bro."