Practice report: Celtics open up
October, 28, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics engaged in their annual open practice at TD Garden on Sunday before flying to Miami in advance of Tuesday's season opener against the Heat. A handful of notes from the session:
* SOME DRILLS, SOME THRILLS: The open practice, held in front of season-ticket holders and their guests, is typically slotted earlier in the preseason and Boston has used it as a scrimmage session between the starters and reserves in past years. But the proximity to Tuesday's opener left coach Doc Rivers utilizing it as an actual practice, which meant some rather mundane drills as part of the 90-minute session. Even still, the crowd watched patiently and was rewarded with some entertaining 5-on-5 work, which included Jeff Green's monster left-handed slam over Fab Melo off a pretty dish from Paul Pierce.
"It’s so close to the first game, so we wanted to get some actual work in," said Rivers, whose team wrapped its preseason schedule last Sunday at the Garden. "I actually like the fact that there was a crowd. We hadn’t seen one in a while. Maybe that’ll help."
Paul Pierce commended the fans for filling up the lower bowl and remaining engaged during the session.
"The fans really love us," Pierce said. "We were joking, this would have been a packed arena in the Hawks' arena. These people come out, watched our practice, that just shows the loyalty and the type of fans we have around here. Just to come out here and check us out for about an hour and a half. It’s like no other place."
The crowd swarmed the sidelines for autographs as the players departed the court. Jason Terry and Rajon Rondo both came back to the locker room without their footwear as their shoes ended up as souvenirs for some lucky fans.
Read on for more notes, including who started the "Beat the Heat" chant and Jeff Green's thoughts (or lack thereof) on the James Harden trade:
* 'BEAT THE HEAT' CHANT: Rivers hasn't been bashful in telling his team to focus on the Heat, stressing that, while it's an 82-game season with plenty of hurdles, it's the NBA champs that Boston is ultimately chasing.
So leave it to Rivers to engage in a "Beat the Heat" chant while departing the floor after the session. Who started it?
"I think Doc might have kicked that off," Terry admitted. "But I wasn’t far behind."
* TERRY READY FOR REVENGE TOO: Terry might not have been part of the Boston team that lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals last season, but he's got a little revenge on his mind as well.
"I’ll never forget '05-06 for me," Terry said. "I should be a two-time champion right now, but it wasn’t so. I’ll never forget that feeling, walking off that court in Game 6 in Dallas [after the Heat won the title], the confetti dropped on our heads. I like to remember winning the championship [over the Heat in 2011], but what sticks in my mind more than anything is when we lost. I've got to believe it’s a feeling similar to what Boston felt last year in Game 7. So I’ve come right into the rivalry. I'm yearning for it. And that’s Game 1 -- whether it’s Miami or somebody else, it’s just basketball, it’s the season, and it’s Game 1."
* GREEN NOT CONCERNED WITH OKC: Asked if he had any thoughts on Saturday's blockbuster deal that sent former Oklahoma City teammate James Harden to the Houston Rockets, Green preferred to keep his focus on his current squad.
"I have no comment on that," he said. "That’s none of my business. That's two teams that had a trade and I’m no longer there. I could care less."
* LINEUP WATCH: Rivers still wouldn't commit to announcing his starting lineup, but practice saw Brandon Bass run through much of the early work with the starting unit. Rivers continues to stress that there will be three starting lineups with a core four of Rondo, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee (at least to start the season).
"It is what is is," Rivers said. "Someone’s going to start. It’s the four guys and, like I said, every night -- not every night -- but we’ll have three different lineups. Jeff Green will start in some different games, Brandon will start some games and Sullinger will start some games."