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Thursday, September 30, 2010
Work and play

By Chris Forsberg



NEWPORT, R.I. -- Another two-hour practice session behind him, Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was lounging on the sidelines watching some of the younger players on the court scrimmage four-on-four when Nate Robinson scurried over in need of a cameraman.

Robinson thrust his iPhone into Garnett's hands, pressed record, and thus began the latest segment in Robinson's Twitter-based sketch comedy series featuring Shaquille O'Neal.

Over the span of 24 hours, Robinson posted videos that ranged from him slipping O'Neal some salt-infused water during a team meal, to dunking on an unsuspecting O'Neal at the start of a practice.

After Thursday's session, videos shot included a mock stare-down between O'Neal and Kendrick Perkins (which ended with the two "playoff rivals" dancing); Robinson running a clumsy suicide in O'Neal's size 23 shoes; and a sequence in which KG and O'Neal rough up Robinson, beating him with one of Shaq's oversized shoes at one point.

If Twitter was your only glimpse into Boston's training camp, it would be enough to make you wonder if this team ever focuses on basketball. Truth is, the Celtics are working twice as hard as they're playing, and all the ancillary antics are helping to forge a bond that this team came to Newport specifically in search of.

"Chemistry's been very good, needless to say," a smiling Garnett said, after being quizzed on his directorial debut. "It's a goddamn zoo around here, but it's all good, we're getting some work done."

Call it the Big Three ring circus, as there's no lack of shenanigans around the Rodgers Recreation Center on the campus of Salve Regina University. But coach Doc Rivers notes that once this team hits the floor, it's all business, particularly for ringleader Robinson.

"I think Nate has figured it out, so far, that there's a time to be focused and serious, and there's time to be Nate," said Rivers. "He's done a great job of that. During practice, he's dead serious; during water breaks, he turns back into Nate. He's figured that out, though."

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