Back to Basketball: Celtics Turn off Noise in Milan

MILAN – There has been plenty of noise surrounding the Celtics over the past two days. It was finally time to shut it all off on Sunday.

Boston made its way onto the Olimpia Milano practice court this afternoon for its first official NBA Global Games practice. The past 48 hours had been all about travel and team bonding, but now it was time to get back to the true business at hand: basketball.

“These sessions are really important to get something accomplished in practice and make sure that we continue to progress,” said Brad Stevens, who acknowledged that this trip is very different than those which he took to Europe with his Butler teams. “It’s still very much a part of our training camp, and so you’ve got all of the great things about being a tourist – seeing new things and being able to experience new things – and at the same time we’re 24 or 25 days away from our season opener. So we’ve got to have productive days in the gym.”

From the sound of it, his players are in agreement. The Celtics were excited to get back onto the court and did not appear to be worried about turning off the noise that surrounds their Global Games trip.

“It felt good having those days off,” said Marcus Smart, “but every guy here loves playing the game of basketball. We look at it more like: this is our job, this is our practice, this is what we love to do. So anytime we can get out here and throw a ball around and put it through the hoop is a good feeling.”

Jonas Jerebko added, “When you’re in the NBA you’re kind of used to all of the noise, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously it’s a little different coming to Europe and all of that and the time change, but we’re all professionals so we should be used to it.”

Regarding the time change, David Lee, who participated in the Global Games two seasons ago when he and the Warriors traveled to China, believes that he and his teammates will adjust well… at least for now.

“I think the most difficult thing – and obviously China was much more of a time change – once you got back to the States was kind of getting re-acclimated and getting your sleep back right,” he stated.

Once the Celtics began practice, Stevens left the doors open to the media for the first 15 minutes, which included stretching, calisthenics and pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop drills. Lee indicated that the team expected much more to be accomplished on the court once the doors closed.

“Right now we’re in the process of putting in a lot of our new stuff and plays and also just getting used to mixing lineups up and playing alongside one another and getting used to each others’ strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

The Celtics were scheduled to practice for approximately 90 minutes Sunday afternoon, including the 15-minute gap that was open to the media. Then they were set to return to the noise and touristy side of this Global Games trip.

Stevens had planned a “fun team activity” for this evening. He declined to elaborate on what exactly that activity would be, but said that he would speak more openly about it at Monday’s practice.

Regardless of the details, this evening’s off-the-court activity is sure to be a great bonding experience for the team, one they surely would not have experienced back in Boston.

The most important part of Sunday, however, was that the Celtics were finally able to get back onto a basketball court and turn off all of the noise – even if it was for only 90 minutes.

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