Celtics

Doc 'likes' week off before season

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Doc 'likes' week off before season

WALTHAM, Mass. - Having more than a week to get ready for their season opener at Miami is for the most part a good thing for the Boston Celtics.
"I like it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters following the team's practice on Thursday. "I'd rather have this than playing on Friday, I'll say that."
Boston closed out its preseason schedule with a home loss to Philadelphia on Sunday with their regular season opener against the Heat on Oct. 30.
But with so much time in between games, Rivers acknowledges one of the challenges the C's face will be keeping themselves sharp enough to play well.
"That's gotta be tough," Rivers added. "To have this much time off and then play a game ... that's not an easy thing. You'd rather have some games around the corner, but we don't."
But don't confuse Rivers' comments as him grumbling about the extended time off which he has referred to as a "second training camp."
"I still would rather have this, for the season," Rivers said. "For one game, I'd take having a game on Friday. But for the whole season, I like this week."
The extra time without games also affords a number of Celtics time to heal some of those preseason aches and pains.
Celtics center Darko Milicic suffered a right wrist injury during the preseason. The injury kept him out of four of Boston's eight preseason games.
It is not totally healed, but it should not prevent him from being available at the start of the season which is what he feared the most with the injury.
"I want to be ready when the season starts," Milicic told CSNNE.com in a recent interview. "I'll be ready."
Following Thursday's practice, Milicic said the wrist -- which was taped up -- was "feeling great."
Another Celtic on the mend this week is Chris Wilcox, who suffered a back injury shortly before the Celtics left for Istanbul, Turkey. He did not play in any of Boston's  eight preseason games.
"We out here grinding, getting ready for the year and I couldn't be part of it," Wilcox told reporters following his return to practice on Wednesday. "(Wednesday) was a great challenge for me. I went up there and worked hard. I didn't expect too much (on the first day back), but I think I did we'll."

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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