Celtics

Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

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Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

Last season, Kendrick Perkins was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning an NBA championship and making two Finals appearances. Sixteen months later, he is returning to the Finals again, this time as a member of the Western Conference champions.

Perkins, the Thunders starting center, addressed the media on Monday in advance of Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

I think as far as the team goes, we have one of the hardest playoff schedules this year, having to go through the Dallas Mavericks, the (Los Angeles) Lakers, the (San Antonio) Spurs, and now having to face the Heat, he said. There really werent any free rides this year during the playoffs. I think we're battle tested, so I think we'll step up to the plate.

The Thunder trailed the Spurs 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals before coming back to win four straight, including the final two games on the road. While the Thunder have home court advantage in the championship series, they are proof themselves that it doesnt guarantee success.

I think one thing about us, we stay humble and just continue to work and play hard, he said. Like Coach always says, it's the first team to four. It's the first team to four wins that actually wins the series, so you can't walk in here and think we've got home court advantage so we're going to win the series. The home court advantage team lost in The Finals last year.

But after reaching the Finals in 2008 and 2010 as a member of the Celtics, Perkins knows firsthand the impact playing on his own turf can have on a series.

It's always good when you're at home, he said. I think our fans give us a lot of energy, a lot of confidence, including myself, let alone the other guys on the team. It gives myself a lot of confidence. We do have the best fans in the world.

Follow along with CSNNE.com during the NBA Finals for news and updates on Perkins.

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.