Shortened preseason schedule, more practice time suits Celtics

Shortened preseason schedule, more practice time suits Celtics

NEWPORT, R.I.  -- You can add Kyrie Irving to the growing list of NBA players who are in favor of the NBA preseason being shortened.

He was asked about it on Tuesday after the Celtics had completed the first day of  two-a-day practices.
"Hell yeah," was Irving's response when asked if he liked the shortened preseason. "It's like, you get so used to playing eight games. It's a month. I like [the shortened preseason], we get games started earlier. We get the season started."


But the shortened preseason is an even bigger plus for a Celtics team that has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, 10 of whom are entering their first season in Boston.
With such a heightened level of unfamiliarity with one another, having fewer games and more practice time should be a plus.
"We need it; it's a necessity for us," Irving said. "Everyone needs it. For us, we need it more than ever, especially the young guys we have on the team. We have to learn on the fly."
Boston returns just four players last season. And from that group, Al Horford is the lone starter back from a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after finishing the regular season with the best record (53-29) in the East.
Even if the Celtics would have returned more players from last season, there would still be a need to spend time getting to know one another.
That's among the key focal points of training camp, which is in Newport for the first time since Brad Stevens' inaugural season in 2013.
"I guess it's proof I'm not superstitious," quipped Stevens, whose team went on to win just 25 games that year. "But it's good to be together."
Especially considering all the new faces to the mix, which Stevens said was a big reason why the team elected to have the start of training camp in Newport as opposed to its current practice facility in Waltham.
"Spending time together," said Stevens when asked why the team decided to return to Salve Regina University. "That was it; that's it. At the end of the day, it was about eating dinner last night together, eating all three meals together today. If we were doing that all at Waltham, we might hang out a little bit (after practice) but not like we are now. That's a positive."
A decision on returning to Newport wasn't made until early September, after the Celtics had completed the trade for Irving.
"We kind of rushed into this in early September, after the trade was done," Stevens said. "We wanted to make sure that, again, these guys spend as much time as possible together."

Marcus Morris was not at training camp on Day One. He's currently on trial, along with his twin brother Markieff (of the Washington Wizards), in Arizona. Both are facing two assault charges stemming from an incident in 2015. Morris was acquired this summer from Detroit in exchange for Avery Bradley . . . Several coaches were in attendance at Tuesday's practice, including UConn women's coach Geno Aueriemma.


Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'


Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

WALTHAM, Mass. – The NBA has talked with  Celtics guard Kyrie Irving about disparaging comments he made to a fan at halftime that have since gone viral.

Irving said the incident happened as the Celtics were heading back to the locker room at halftime after the Celtics fell behind 50-46 to the Sixers.


“Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” yelled the fan.

Irving replied with a lewd suggestion. 

After practice on Saturday, Irving acknowledged that he did say something to a fan and that he had a conversation with the league regarding the incident.


“Hell no,” Irving said. “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

The league has not officially announced a fine for Irving, but it’s more a matter of when not if that will be forthcoming.

In fact, earlier today, the league fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for “inappropriate language” towards a fan in the Pelicans’ 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had not seen the video in question but was aware that Irving had been in conversations with the league office regarding the incident.

“Guys know what the right thing to do is,” Stevens said. “People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on. There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”