C's 'Run the Cobwebs Out' During First Post-Europe Practice

WALTHAM – After returning from their weeklong preseason trip to Europe on Friday, the Boston Celtics planned to recuperate during their first few days back home.

Sunday was originally scheduled as a film and lift day, according to coach Brad Stevens, but he felt the team should further utilize the day by “[running] the cobwebs out,” and had the squad do some conditioning and shooting drills.

The C’s are coming off convincing wins in Europe, after routing EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, 124-91, during in its preseason opener on Oct. 6 and then beating Real Madrid, 111-96, on Oct. 8.

The competition is about to kick up a notch, however, as the C’s prepare for their NBA preseason slate. Boston will tip off their domestic preseason schedule on Wednesday in Brooklyn.

Stevens says the focus this week will “just be on cleaning up things we that didn’t do well [in Europe] and just making sure we’re more sound in our system. We missed a few things that we need to make sure we don’t miss anymore, especially on the defensive end.

“Offensively I thought we just needed to continue to emphasize spacing and figuring guys’ strengths out but, I think we have a good foundation on that end.”

One area in which the Celtics have certainly developed a solid foundation is in the chemistry department. Evan Turner said being around each other for essentially 24 hours a day for an entire week was beneficial.

“Just being over there and being able to kick it together and talk more builds moral and chemistry,” said Turner.

Jared Sullinger added, “We were kind of on top of one another because normally we come here, we practice and then we go our separate ways. [There] it was practice, go on the bus, go to Lake Como; after Lake Como, go to dinner; after dinner go back to the hotel, so we kind of had to communicate with one another, and I thought as we communicated more we got better as a team.”

The trip was also beneficial for Stevens, as the two exhibitions provided him with a chance to test out various lineups. In turn, he has developed “a pretty good feel of who I want to play with whom. There might be two options at one spot that we’ll have to figure out as they compete against each other in practice, but as far as who I want to play with what group, what their skill sets that complement each other are, we’ve got a pretty good feel for it.”

David Lee felt comfortable in the starting rotation alongside Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Tyler Zeller. He said that the group is focusing on playing at an extremely high pace when they’re on the floor.

“From talking to the guys in that first unit, if we can all be in tip-top shape and can play at a certain pace for eight or nine minutes, that stuff is very tough to guard,” said 32-year-old Lee, the eldest member of the team.

“When you have three or four guys cutting and someone else setting a screen, guys running in, running out, guys spacing to shoot, guys diving to the hole. You can run that at a fast pace, and [when] guys are in shape and ready to do that, it’s very difficult to guard.”

Sunday’s practice, though modest, was a positive step in establishing that desired conditioning level. Boston will just continue to pick up the intensity from there.

“Guys are getting in shape so it was a good practice,” said Amir Johnson. “We were just running it out, getting in a sweat. We went moderate today; tomorrow we’re going to go a little bit harder.”

Turner returns, Rozier out

Evan Turner says he “feels fine,” after missing both games last week with a knee strain. He has been running the last two days and did not appear to be in any pain while playing some one-on-one with James Young following Sunday’s practice.

Terry Rozier was seen on the sideline at Sunday’s practice with his left knee wrapped. Stevens said the rookie guard’s knee is swollen and expects him to miss three-to-five days.

Jonas Jerebko was absent due to “a virus going around,” according to Stevens. Perry Jones, who left Europe mid-trip due to a death in his family, is expected back at practice on Monday.

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