After Roster Overhaul, New Celtics Make Garden Debuts
BOSTON - The last several days have been pretty crazy for the Boston Celtics organization, between bidding goodbye to a longtime colleague in Kendrick Perkins to welcoming aboard multiple newcomers to the organization while in the middle of a road trip.
The boys were back in town Wednesday night, and it proved another memorable day for all of the fresh faces, as Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic played in just their third game as Celtics, notching at 115-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, free agent signee Troy Murphy came to terms, joined the team and made his TD Garden debut along with Green and Krstic, all in the same night.
All three players met with a full compliment of the Boston media for the first time before Wednesday’s game, and to a man, each one was mostly concerned with figuring out how they fit into the plan and made it clear that they share the Celtics' championship aspirations.
“I’m ready to be a part of this franchise,” Green said before scoring six points in 17 minutes off the bench Wednesday night. “Putting on this jersey, it’s a great feeling. I’m excited.”
Celtics Coach Doc Rivers has already admitted he’s not quite sure how he’ll use Green in the rotation, but the versatile forward’s chief job will be backing up Paul Pierce. It’s a little different for him, given that he was a starter for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Green says he’s not concerned with minutes.
“No matter how many minutes I play, no matter what my role is, I just got to do the best I can, complete that role and win games for this team,” Green said.
As for Krstic, he’s been the quickest to adapt to his new team, and it shouldn’t be surprising considering that he’s been thrust into a starting role. On a team with four All-Stars in the starting lineup, it’s a sink-or-swim environment. Krstic has already admitted to having a lot to learn about the Celtics’ system, but familiarity with Assistant Coach Lawrence Frank, who coached him in New Jersey, has helped get him keep his head above water.
“This is the first time I am in this position where I have to learn everything quickly and actually play the game,” Krstic said. “So I’m trying, it’s kind of tough, but I’m trying and giving all I’ve got.”
Murphy, meanwhile, literally came to terms with the Celtics hours before making his debut in a fresh #30 jersey. He played just over 14 minutes in his Celtics debut and scored just a single point in the process, but given that he hadn’t even been with the team for 24 hours and had the benefit of one brief pregame walkthrough to get to know his teammates and how things operate, you probably couldn’t expect much more from him.
But clearly, Murphy chose Boston because he feels the Celtics have the best chance to make a championship run. Having never been to the playoffs in his career, Murphy said it was important to him to join a team that had a legit shot at winning the whole thing.
“That was the most important factor, going to a team that was not only going to be in the playoffs, but for a long playoff run. Looking at the teams, the Celtics have the potential to do that.”
If Murphy’s trying to fit in with his new teammates, talking about long playoff runs and championship aspirations is a good place to find common ground in this locker room.