This Time, Havlicek Steals the Team’s Attention
James Posey rolls off a Scot Pollard pick at Tuesday's practice at HealthPoint.
Peter Stringer / Celtics.com
WALTHAM - Sometimes it's good for players to hear a different voice at training camp. When you have legendary alumni at your disposal, you might as well let them do some of the talking.
To that end, John Havlicek addressed the Celtics before Tuesday's practice. While he said that his message was brief and between himself and the team, it was clear he made an impact, especially on Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett.
"Anytime those guys can talk, it's far more valuable than anything we can do in practice," said Coach Doc Rivers, who called Havlicek his favorite player. "Their knowledge is knowledge that none of us have experienced on the inside. We may have experienced it on the peripheral, but none of us have the experience that him and Tommy [Heinsohn] and [Bob] Cousy and K.C. [Jones] have. They've been through and experienced so many things. If they don't know about team dynamics then it doesn't exist."
Hondo has met Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Garnett before through the years, but said he "re-met" them this morning before addressing the club. For Garnett, just because he's new to the Celtics doesn't mean he's new to basketball history. On the contrary, Garnett is a student of the game and is always thrilled to meet some of the living legends. Now, being a part of the most legendary franchise in basketball history affords him the opportunity to rub elbows with his heroes.
KG also learned a little something about the meaning of Celtics Pride.
"He gave us some knowledge and insight on Celtics Pride and what it means, and giving for the better of the team," Garnett said. "It's not just something that you say, similar to ubuntu. So that means if you're getting your [butt] kicked, the team [still] plays hard, and [you] understand what it means to put the jersey on. There's a lot of history and responsibility that comes with this jersey and this franchise. It's our duty and responsibility to continue and carry this on."
Garnett was mesmerized by Havlicek, just as he's been in the past when meeting Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, JoJo White and other legends of the Celtics and the NBA.
"I don't think I blinked one time when he was talking," Garnett said. "I was trying to get all of the insight and pick up all of the knowledge he was giving."
Meanwhile, Havlicek likes what he sees in Green this season, especially the depth of the team beyond the starting five.
"You have three All-Stars, and you only had one prior to that. You have a couple of acquisitions who have played well previously. [Eddie] House and [James] Posey, they add a new dimension to the club, someone coming off the bench," said Havlicek, who made his mark as the ultimate sixth man by playing all out all of the time.
Pierce Feeling Good
Much has been made of Paul Pierce's upbeat attitude since the arrival of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but there's also another factor at play: he's healthy again.
"All of my ailments from a year ago have gone away," Pierce said. "I didn't get injured in preseason like I did last year, and hopefully I can get through these next three practices as healthy as I can be."
While camp may seem long to those on the outside of the team's inner sanctum, Pierce said that the month has gone by quickly.
"We have a lot of fun. I come in the gym and see these guys, you don't want it to end...I'm always upbeat to play the game of basketball, but when you've got a team around you and a character group of guys like this...I had to be a big brother to the whole team last year. Now I just feel like I'm not the oldest one on the team."
The C's picked up their contract option on guard Rajon Rondo for the 2008-09 season today. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Scot Pollard went through his second day of practice, and reported "no steps backward." He also said he expected to be really sore today, but wasn't as sore as he'd anticipated.
Pollard still thinks he'll be good for "10 strong minutes" on Friday night against the Wizards.
The Waltham chapter of the USC alumni club took a hit Tuesday, as both Brian Scalabrine (strained big toe) and Gabe Pruitt (hamstring cramping) missed parts of practice Tuesday.
Peter Stringer covers the team for Celtics.com. You can send him .