Celtics

Celtics old Finals wounds still fresh during preseason

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Celtics old Finals wounds still fresh during preseason

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- When Doc Rivers arrived to coach his first preseason game at TD Garden on Sunday, old feelings accompanied him there.

Theyre the kind that dont go away just because last season ended four months ago. Thats because instead of returning to the Garden as defending NBA champions, the Celtics are looking to avenge last seasons Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Its painful every day, honestly, Rivers said before the Celtics took on the Toronto Raptors. I dont think thatll go away.

Rivers has found it nearly impossible to avoid mention of the Lakers victory.

They show the video all the time, you can get a Sports Illustrated subscription, he pointed out. It drives me nuts, it honestly does. So many times I walk away from the TV, even Sports Illustrated at times. But I dont think thatll ever go away. Dont think it should.

Even though the wound is still open, Rivers believes it is important for his team to be reminded of the heartbreaking loss.

We showed our team a little clip of it, of the celebration at least, on opening day at training camp and I was amazed at how raw that still was with the players, he said. I underestimated that, and so that was, in a way, good. Thatll stick with you forever.

Rivers thinks about last seasons Game 7 loss more often than their Game 6 triumph in 2008. He says he knows he should focus on the positive -- Larry Brown talked to him about that this summer -- but believes he and his players arent built that way.

You do think about Game 7, over and over again, he said. Im sure thatll last for a long time.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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