Evan Turner Working Overtime to Improve his Shot

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics’ players gradually made their way off the court following Thursday’s practice in Waltham, Mass., but Evan Turner stayed behind to put up a few extra shots.

It may have actually been closer to a few hundred shots by the time he finished up an hour later.

Turner made his way around the perimeter countless times, worked on his off-the-dribble shot, and tossed up a few free throws along the way.

When he’d miss he’d shake his head. Occasionally he’d let out a yell of disapproval.

“I gotta see every shot go in that I possibly can,” Turner explained after finally wrapping up the session, long after his teammates had left the court.

He was the only Celtic in sight, aside from R.J. Hunter, who re-emerged midway though Turner’s workout to take a few shots of his own at the opposite hoop.

This lengthy shooting session is nothing new to Turner. He began the routine during his college days at Ohio State and modeled it after a Steve Nash drill.

With the regular season now in full swing, there is not a lot of time for Turner to fit this lengthy routine into his schedule, but he says he has managed to squeeze it in six or seven times so far.

“I usually do it on late days or sometimes on off days,” said Turner. “Just so I can stay ready. You never know if somebody gets hurt or whatever and I go heavy minutes.”

The 6-foot-7 swingman has seen his minutes drop slightly from 27.6 minutes per game last season to 24.4 MPG this season. However he has capitalized when he’s been called upon to fill in or to take on a heavier workload.

For example, when Avery Bradley went down with a calf injury last week, Turner filled in as the starting 2-guard against Indiana. He saw 33 minutes of court time and poured in a team-high 20 points.

He was ready to go that night and his personal shooting sessions may have had a hand in his impressive 9-of-13 shooting performance from the field.

He’s hoping his most recent workout will carry over to Friday night, when the Celtics host Brooklyn at TD Garden.

The Nets currently hold a 2-10 record, but they have been surprising teams of late.

They beat the Rockets in Houston last week, and then forced overtime on Golden State’s home court three nights later. Tuesday night the Nets continued their impressive play with a victory against Atlanta, and nearly pulled off back-to-back wins when they narrowly lost to Charlotte the following night.

“Brooklyn’s been playing really well,” said Turner. “They had a chance to win at Golden State, they won some good games with some great teams, some of the top teams in the league. We’re familiar with them. We really have to come out and set the tone once again and play the way we need to play.”

C’s coach Brad Stevens said he did not watch the Nets’ first seven games or so, but he’s been keeping close tabs during their recent string of strong performances.

“You can tell, there’s a great deal of urgency in their play,” said Stevens. “I’ve watched Jarrett Jack, (Brook) Lopez, Joe (Johnson), Thaddeus [Young] those guys have all been playing really well. And they’ve got great energy from their young guys, from their bench.”

He added, “We’re going to have to play well to win. That’s a consistent theme for our team, though. If we don’t play well, we’ll lose.”

Turner said the key to avoid a second straight loss is to not allow those top players to get into a rhythm.

“When you have talent over there like Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack – who’s very capable – Lopez… you can’t let those guys feel good,” said Turner. “Any team in the NBA, if they feel good it’s gonna be a long night for you.””

That’s the last thing Turner would want Friday night, after his lengthy workout session on Thursday. He’s aiming to get his Celtics back on track following Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, and hopefully his extended shooting session will help him put some points on the board against a hungry Brooklyn team.


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