ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg reports from Celtics practice in Waltham today:
WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave members of the 35+ club — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry — an extra day off and a respite from Monday’s practice, then tossed his clipboard to veteran assistant Armond Hill to run the skeleton session.
Leandro Barbosa also sat out the brief practice due to illness. With two rookies on assignment with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League and Avery Bradley still on the mend from double shoulder surgery, that left a mere seven available bodies for Hill to work with.
You may be saying to yourself, damn-what’s the point of even having a practice?
“You can do a lot with seven guys,” said Hill. “We got a lot of 3-on-3, we played a little 1-on-1, some 2-on-2 with the bigs — but we also broke down some plays, where we were able to get what we were looking for as far as pick-and-roll defense, and offense. We got a lot done.”
Coming off a game-heavy November, Rivers elected to give his veterans some additional time off, particularly with the team having three total days off before Wednesday’s visit from the Minnesota Timberwolves (coming off a back-to-back, the Celtics took Sunday off as a team).
I agree with Doc on this move. We’ve got a young, athletic Minny team coming in on Wednesday night, and another back to back this weekend-this time with Philly. Then, the Basketball Gods again smile on the Celts, giving them another 3 days off before playing the Mavs at home & travelling to Texas for what will no doubt be a tough back-to-back with Houston & San Antonio.
Doc will have the vets “back on the floor on Tuesday”. Jeff Green had his own thoughts on what things were like without what a reporter called the “old guys“:
“Don’t say that around them, they’d be mad,” joked Green. “Well, we just worked on some defensive schemes that a lot of the bench guys needed to improve on. It’s different with them not being there. It’s a lot quieter, you’ve got KG not there. But we just worked on some things, tried to continue on our defense, but we miss them. Those are our leaders. It’s weird not having them in the gym with us, and for me, I like everybody to be there. But those guys need their rest and we just had to get better today with the group that we had out on the floor. We’ll come back tomorrow with everybody.”
Oh and that pick & roll defense? Yeah-they worked on that as well:
* PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE THE FOCUS AGAIN: The Celtics spent much of the skeleton session working on pick-and-roll defense, particularly as they tweak their approach based on opponent. “We’re getting better, and you can see that guys are reacting more and reacting quicker to what their responsibilities are,” said Hill, who went on to explain the intricacies of what the team was trying to accomplish. Later he added, “I think, most of the time defensively, the pick-and-roll is the main thing we’ve got to try to get better at.”
You can check out all of Forsberg’s practice report over at ESPN Boston.