Practice: Skeleton C's get reps
March, 3, 2013
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonThe Celtics at work with an open practice on Sunday in Waltham.WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics practiced without their coach and core veterans on Sunday, giving the younger players and new faces some extended court time together during an open session in front of a corporate sponsor.
Coach Doc Rivers and his family made the trek up to Portland to watch eldest son Jeremiah play for the Maine Red Claws with the D-League season winding down. The team's 35+ club of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were in attendance for the session, but were told to stay off their feet as much as possible as Boston enjoys a three-day break before playing in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
"Doc has contacted everyone, we know what he wants to run, what we have to do as far as the offense, defense, running through plays and repetition," said assistant coach Armond Hill, tasked with Rivers' unenviable media responsibilities. "We're trying to get the young guys, the new guys to understand what we’re looking for in a play. And repetition is the only way, so we have to keep going over and over and over.
"Everybody’s going to be here, we’ll go through some shooting drills, go through our drills. [Rivers] wants to rest KG, Paul and JET, then everyone else goes through the practice."
Hill joked that the veterans can do whatever they want during the session ("The most important thing is they’ll be off their feet") and they all quickly disappeared into the back to lift weights or get treatment.
With rehabbing rookie Jared Sullinger (back surgery) watching from the sideline, the Celtics' remaining nine players -- including newcomers Terrence Williams, DJ White and Shavlik Randolph -- went through half-court drills with a heavy emphasis on execution. The new faces stand to benefit the most from the session with the opportunity to get extended reps while trying to immerse themselves in a new system.
Without the veterans on the floor, Hill was hoping the intensity level wouldn't drop off.
"When [Pierce and Garnett] are not in practice, everyone else has to step up all the time," Hill said. "That’s what’s happening because when an injury happens, everyone has to step up. If guys are sitting out, it’s like a practice, well the guy who comes in must know what he has to do, it’s no different with that."
Backup center Chris Wilcox said there wouldn't be a drop-off in trash talk without Garnett.
"It’s cool, we've got a lot of guys on the team that talk trash," Wilcox said. "So all it takes is one guy to start talking trash, and then the intensity picks all the way up."
Wilcox added, "We've all got to step up [without the veterans]. We know the goal at the end of the day is to win, so whatever we've got to do to win, our second unit and a lot of other guys, we have to learn how to play together when those guys are off the court, when those guys take a day off and stuff like that. We have to be prepared, so that’s what we’re here for today."
Players were loose before the session, tossing around a stray football found on the sidelines. Wilcox, Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford were tossing full-court heaves to Jeff Green (still wearing a sleeve over his bruised elbow, but participating in the session).
The Celtics officially announced the signing of Terrence Williams to a multiyear deal before Sunday's session. Hop HERE to read our story from Saturday on the new pact.