Celtics

Pietrus: 'I came to the Celtics because of Coach Rivers and KG'

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Pietrus: 'I came to the Celtics because of Coach Rivers and KG'

BOSTON -- Following the Celtics blowout win over the Toronto Raptors, Mickael Pietrus sat at his locker and talked very passionately for ten minutes about a single topic -- the player who sits next to him, Kevin Garnett.

Pietrus has admired Garnetts game since he entered the league in 2003. Not for his stat line or athletic ability, but rather Pietrus liked Garnetts intensity and wanted to incorporate that into his approach to basketball. So much so, in fact, that Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers were the two driving factors in his decision to play in Boston.

He played hard for 16 years, Pietrus said following the Cs 100-64 victory. Ive been watching him the last 10 years since Ive been in the NBA, and the way he gets ready for a game, he gets ready to compete every night, thats where I got that from. Today, for me to play with him, its great because we have the same mentality and thats what Im trying to bring to the Celtics.

To be honest with you," he added, "the reason I came to the Celtics is because of Coach Rivers and KG. I knew that they had Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but he makes everybody play hard. I was like, thats going to be a good fit for me to play with the man. I was very happy from when I got here a month ago, he told me, I cant wait to have you on the court with me. I was like, Yeah, were going to have fun.

Read more from Pietrus thoughts on Garnett, why he would never copy his pregame trademark, and just how close he considers his teammate. Oh yeah, cant forget why he doesnt want any other fish than that in Boston.

Sharing the Same Mindset
I love his mentality. I love it. Thats my mentality, too. People who dont understand, they cant call themselves winners. Theyre losers. If you want to win, youve got to play with that man. Hes going to give you some respect and youve got to give him some respect, too. If youre not all about winning, KG and the Celtics, they are not for you. Youve got to go somewhere else and get numbers, but it wont make any sense. Youre going to get numbers but at the end of the day, youre going to watch us in the playoffs.

His Dream Lockermate
Youve got to learn from the best. I love that man. He plays hard. The thing people dont see, on some teams big time players want to take 25 shots but it doesnt take sense to take 25 shots. But what I like with KG, hell share with you on the plane. You sit down, hes going to share some story with you. Hes going to share some of his life. Youre going to share some of your life, too, with KG. Thats what I like. On the floor, he makes things easier for you because he likes to compete and you want to compete too. I love that man. I love playing with KG. thats what Ive got my locker right next to him.

Playing Hard No Matter What
My favorite memories with KG is from watching him when things werent going well for him in Minnesota, and he kept working the same way he is working now. And then that trade came and hes still the same KG. Thats what I like. Some superstars play differently if your team doesnt win, hes still going to bring his best and thats why Ive been watching KG from when he was in Minnesota. That team wasnt good and thats why I kind of learned like whatever team you are, youve got to play hard and get the best out of you and get the best out of your teammates, and thats how youre going to get the respect in the league.

Respecting the Toughness
"We got into a fight last year with the Suns. But that wasnt any fight, like big time. Thats something I like from him is that toughness. I respect that. Thats what he tried to transfer to everybody on the team, is dont take anything for granted. Every day in practice, youve got to come to work. The game, youve got to come to work too. No days off. Every day is a challenge. Every day youve got to step up and try to get the best out of the day. And thats what I like. Thats my main challenge in the NBA since Ive been in the NBA, just keep fighting because at the end of the day good things are going to happen.

From what Ive learned in ten years now is numbers, people always want to get numbers and numbers, and at the end of the day, I told you, Ive seen a lot of scorers in the NBA that dont even have a job. Every day you can do little things to make the team a winning team, thats what it takes. I kind of learned from him, every day the way he gets ready, the way he prepares himself for practice, he prepares himself for the game.

To me, KG and KG off the court is a different KG. If I can spend the summer time, learn from that man I will. I know its kind of too late because Ive been in the NBA ten years, but if I was a rookie Id be sitting right next to him, asking him a lot of questions because hes the man. Hes why the Celtics are the Celtics.

Soaking It In
Im trying to learn from him. Thats why I came to the Celtics, because he has a toughness that I like and Ive got a toughness that he likes. And on the floor we understand each other because its all about working hard and getting stuff done. It was easy for me to be on the floor as a Celtic my first game because from the opposing team when I played him, it was kind of tough to beat the Celtics. Ive seen the other side of the sea and the fish is different. I dont want to go back there.

Leaving KGs Pregame Tradition Alone
Some people have their way to get ready for a game. (Garnett bangs his head on the basketball stanchion before tipoff.) No I like my forehead. Im not going to do that to my forehead. (Rubs forehead) It would have dents in it. My forehead, I like, were going to be ok, dont worry. Im not going to do that to you.

More than a Teammate
KG to me is not a friend. No. He is part of my family because we are trying to win a championship together. Were trying to make a big thing together. At the end of the day, once we retire and we win a championship, hes going to be a friend. But right now the Celtics, this is all about family. Thats why everybody stays together, eats together, does stuff together. On some teams its not like that. You dont have the same feelings. Its hard. But I definitely want to be here.

Celtics' cup has runneth over so far this season

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Celtics' cup has runneth over so far this season

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are no different than the rest of us. They have a lot to be thankful for.
 
There’s the usual good health, family and friends. But they have a few more things to be thankful for, as well.
 
So as you take a brief time-out today from the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, here’s a look at five things the Celtics are thankful for this season.


 
KYRIE IRVING
 
The Celtics have had some solid players in recent years, but the addition of Kyrie Irving was a game-changer. He provides Boston with an unmistakable superstar who has a proven track record of success on all levels -- he's won an NBA championship and an Olympic Gold medal, and is also a four-time All-Star. Did I mention he’s just 25 years old?


 
AL HORFORD
 
His numbers will never adequately measure the impact Horford has had on the Celtics. The big plus with Horford was him simply agreeing to be a Celtic. For years this franchise has been built on the success of developing draft picks or trading for talented players. But rarely have they had the financial flexibility or, to be frank, the kind of appeal to free agents to go out and acquire a proven All-Star like Al Horford. His arrival has enhanced an already-established winning culture, one that has become a player on the free agency market ever since.


 
DANNY AINGE
 
Other than Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, it’s hard to imagine another front office executive having as good an offseason as Ainge. He rolled the dice to go down two spots in last June’s NBA draft, and wound up with arguably the most NBA-ready player (Jayson Tatum) among those selected in last June’s NBA draft. (Remember, the likely rookie-of-the-year Ben Simmons did not play last year after Philadelphia drafted him with the top overall pick in 2016.) The free-agent pickups of Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin have all had moments where they carried the team to victory. Even second-round picks like Semi Ojeleye and two-way players like Jabari Bird have contributed to wins this season. Fans may not like some of Ainge’s decisions in the moment but he deserves a lot of credit for the team we see today, one that has played at a level few envisioned they'd reach this quickly.


 
BRAD STEVENS
 
And to think, the Big Three (Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford) Boston was planning to build around this season has played less than five minutes together. Stevens has been pushing all the right buttons, putting guys in unexpected positions to succeed with a cast that’s long on talent and well, well short on experience. Boston’s first win of the season came at Philadelphia, a game in which the Celtics played six different rookies. It’s not unusual for teams to use first-year players frequently, but for a team that was built to contend for a championship? That’s highly unusual. The biggest thing is despite the lack of experience on the floor, Stevens hasn’t allowed them to use that as a reason to fail. Instead, Stevens has had them lean heavily on film study and the wisdom of veterans, as well as empowered them to have a “next-man-up” mindset with one goal regardless of what they are tasked with doing: Get it done. No excuses.


 
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
 
Boston has spent most of this season atop the NBA standings, fueled in large part by a 15-game winning streak -- the longest of the Brad Stevens era and the fifth-longest ever by a Celtics team. But within that winning streak, there have been some noticeable areas of concern (i.e., bench scoring) that have made games more challenging. And that's what makes these Celtics so scary to the rest of the league. If they’re beating teams consistently now, how much better will they be when the offense catches up or, at a minimum, gains some ground on what has been an impressive stretch of play defensively? That’s why as good as this first full month of the season has been, there's reason to believe they’ll only get better. The Celtiheircs have seen  share of adversity. They've played without their All-Stars. They have fought back from double-digit deficits to emerge victorious. This is a young squad, but battle-tested already. Because of all that, they have a certain level of confidence that regardless of the situation, regardless of the score, they feel they will find a pathway to success. And that, Celtics Nation, is something to be thankful for.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Blakely's takeaways: Moving on without the streak

Blakely's takeaways: Moving on without the streak

The streak is over! The streak is over!

We now return the Boston Celtics to their regularly scheduled pursuit of success without the growing pressure that comes with a historically relevant winning streak.

The 104-98 loss at Miami on Wednesday night brought an end to what had been one of the more unlikely winning streaks we’ve seen in the NBA for quite some time.

Boston reeled off 16 straight wins, many of which were the come-from-a-double-digit-deficit variety. In the end, the Celtics’ winning streak ranks as the fourth-longest in this storied franchise’s history.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said following the loss. “But we do have a lot of resolve.”

That resolve will surely be challenged with the Celtics taking Thanksgiving off, only to return and play three games in the next four nights beginning with Orlando on Friday, followed by a road game at Indiana on Saturday and a home date against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Here are five takeaways from the Boston Celtics’ 16-game winning streak.

KYRIE FOR MVP?

When the Boston Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving during the offseason, there was a sense that his presence would be a plus in some capacity, at some point. But few envisioned Irving would not only have a relatively seamless fit with the Celtics, but deliver in such a way that would catapult them to the top of the NBA standings and in doing so, establish him as one of the early front-runners for the league’s MVP award. This season, Irving is averaging a team-best 22.5 points and 5.2 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field but most important, the Celtics (16-3) have the best record in the NBA.

WANTED: BENCH SCORER

If you are a fan of good defenders, you probably love the Boston Celtics’ second unit. Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are both ball-hawking defenders who can make some miserable times for opponents when they are on top of their game. Daniel Theis provides great energy on the glass and defensively. But the second unit needs a jolt offensively. Because as good as they can defend collectively, the Celtics have to have at least one starter on the floor most of the time because the bench doesn’t have an adequate collector of buckets that they can rely on consistently. Marcus Morris looks like an ideal choice for that role, but the left knee soreness that kept him out for eight games seems to be flaring up from time to time. Whether they address this with a trade or possibly with a player bought out, the lack of a second-unit scorer is very much an issue for this team.

BROWN EMERGES AS TWO-WAY TALENT

The plan was for Jaylen Brown to be an elite, shut-down defender this season. He has shown himself to be a good defender this season, but what has really made him stand out is the growth in his game offensively. The second-year wing has scored 20-plus points in three of Boston’s last four games. Doing that along with continuing to play good defense has him looking like one of the NBA’s promising young two-way talents.

TATUM’S GROWTH A SILVER LINING IN HAYWARD INJURY

You never want to see the Boston Celtics or any team for that matter, lose a player for the season let alone one who meant as much as Gordon Hayward to the Celtics. But if there is a silver lining in his ankle injury which is expected to keep him out all season, it is the opportunity it created for Jayson Tatum. The 19-year-old has been arguably the best player from last June’s draft class, playing major minutes with a major role for the team with the best record in the NBA. The opportunity to play around 30 minutes a game would not have been there for Tatum if Hayward didn’t get hurt. The challenge for Tatum going forward is to stay consistent, because now that teams have seen him for almost a quarter of the season, you can expect they will make some adjustments in how they defend him as well as try to attack him when he’s defending.

WE TALKIN’ ABOUT PRACTICE

During Boston’s 16 game winning streak, the Celtics played the last eight games in 16 nights. That’s a game every other night for more than two weeks. In that time, there’s little to no time for practice which has been a factor in Boston not being quite as sharp in the last few games, as they were at the start of the streak. After Thanksgiving, Boston plays three games in four nights with a pair of days off to follow before they return to action. There’s a very good chance that the Celtics will use one of those two days to practice, something this team desperately needs to clean up some of the minor mistakes that were big problems in their loss to the Heat on Wednesday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE