Saturday, February 26, 2011
Green, Krstic join team for shootaround
By Chris Forsberg
LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, acquired in Thursday's trade deadline shocker that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City, took the floor with their new teammates for the first time during Boston's morning shootaround Saturday on the campus of UCLA in Westwood.
Green and Krstic logged some extra time with the coaching staff after the session, but beyond the crash course in Boston's philosophies, both expressed excitement about joining a championship-caliber squad.
"It’s an honor," said Green. "There's a lot of history behind the name that’s on this jersey. I'm proud to be a Celtic. I'm coming here to do the best I can, try to help this team out and win a championship."
Added Krstic: "It's going to be a great experience for me. I can learn so much from these guys. Hopefully we'll win a championship this year and I can go back to Serbia with a ring."
After passing their physicals Friday, the duo met with the coaching staff to start going over Boston's playbook. Even as they get up to speed, coach Doc Rivers said he'll toss Krstic into the starting lineup during Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, while Green will settle into his role off the bench.
"It's going to take some time, obviously, but we'll throw them in," said Rivers. "Jeff will take longer in some ways because he has to learn two positions, the 3 and the 4. We're going to throw them in there, throw them in the fire. Nenad will start tonight and hopefully he can figure it out on the fly. We don't have a lot of time."
Green said the pair were well received by their new teammates and is fully aware that chemistry may be the most important factor moving forward.
"They accepted me well," said Green. "I can already tell the tight bond, these are guys you go to battle with. It's important to have that relationship with each other and they welcomed me and Nenad with open arms."
Green laughed when asked about choosing jersey No. 8; Krstic will wear No. 4. Combined with Chris Johnson wearing No. 86 after being fetched from the NBA Development League on a 10-day contract Thursday, the new Celtics have all inherited former Celtics' numbers (Robinson wore No. 4; Erden wore No. 86, and Marquis Daniels had No. 8).
"Man, so many numbers are retired in Celtics' history," joked Green. "There wasn't a lot of numbers to chose from. Eight is a great number, I'll try to represent it well."
--DOC REJOINS TEAM DURING SHOOTAROUND--
Rivers, who flew to Chicago after Thursday's loss in Denver to be with his ailing mother, returned to the team Saturday morning midway through shootaround and will coach the team Saturday night.
"I’m good," said a flight-weary Rivers. "Things are getting better, so that’s good."
Rivers said he utilized 10 hours on a plane to watch game film of his two new players in hopes of figuring out how to best utilize them. He also logged extended time on the phone with Oklahoma City coach Scotty Brooks, both coaches offering advice to each other on how to best utilize their new faces.
"The best part was that one of their last game was against the Clippers," Rivers said of his marathon film sessions. "So, it was duel [tasks], I could watch the two new guys and scout the other team. I got to see what Jeff did well against [the Clippers] and integrate that into the [game plan] as well."
--KRSTIC THE STARTER UNTIL SHAQ IS READY TO RETURN--
Rivers indicated that Krstic will eventually slide into a reserve role, maybe as early as next week. Ailing center Shaquille O'Neal (inflamed right Achilles) is currently rehabbing in Orlando, but plans to return to Boston after the Celtics complete their four-game road trip Monday in Utah and could be available for action soon after.
"We talked and we want him to keep working out," said Rivers. "He’s doing great. We told him, 'Stay where you’re at. Keep working out.' He’ll meet us back -- when we get back to Boston, he’ll be in Boston and we’ll go form there."
Pressed on his return to game action, Rivers noted, "He may try to play when we get back."