Practice: C's hold a Garden party
Asked what "fun" he might have up his sleeve for Friday's open session, first-year head coach Brad Stevens quipped, "You know, I’m not Mr. Fun."
Stevens prefers his teams get their work done behind closed doors, which they did with the early session. That's the way it's always been for Stevens, who noted he rarely held a fan session -- and never held a Midnight Madness -- during his time at Butler University.
"We did [a fan event] once or twice -- in fact, I think [Butler] might be doing it tonight, where they did like a blue-and-white scrimmage or something," said Stevens. "So we did that occasionally. But we never did the Midnight Madness thing or anything like that. We always used to get together on that first practice day and say that our madness is in March, so we just went to work."
Asked how the first half of the night went, Stevens offered, "Solid half of practice. It was good. It was very competitive, very physical. You can sense what’s around the corner."
The Celtics are set to take Saturday and Sunday off before reconvening Monday to ramp up to Wednesday's regular-season opener in Toronto. But Friday night's event was a rare chance to dial things back a bit.
"There may be a 3-point contest in there and if we get all crazy, maybe we’ll throw a game of Knockout out there," said Stevens.
The 3-point contest was derailed by a lack of ball racks, but a few young fans invaded the court for the game of Knockout, taking down Celtics players like Jeff Green, Vitor Faverani, and Phil Pressey (much to the delight of the spectators).
Avery Bradley recalled an open practice here at the Garden a couple years back where he hit a winning shot in a green-vs.-white scrimmage. He liked the opportunity to work out in front of the season-ticket holders.
"[The fans] get a chance to see us away from a game night," said Bradley. "We have a little more fun, a little more joking, but at the same time they get to see us work hard in practice. We look forward to it every single year."
A few more quick hits from the team's Friday night practice:
* WALLACE DOWNPLAYS ANKLE: Veteran forward Gerald Wallace, who even wore his walking boot to Thursday night's formal-attire Shamrock Gala, watched Friday's open practice in a Patriots cap and sweatshirt. He again downplayed the severity of his left ankle injury and suggested four days off will ensure he's ready to go on Monday (and, more importantly, the regular season). "Once the season starts, it’s going to come fast and it’s going to move real fast," said Wallace. "Having this break right before the [first] game is excellent for us."
* OLYNYK'S CANADIAN HUMOR: With the Celtics set to trek back north of the border for the third time in three weeks for Wednesday's regular-season opener in his native Toronto, Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk was asked about what favors he called in with the league to get so many trips to Canada. "I would say all these guys have the basketball gods in their corner because they have the whole year in their country," said Olynyk. "I feel like you guys have your perceptions a little skewed."
* WATCH OUT FOR VITOR'S PASSES: Stevens spoke of the ambidexterity of rookie center Vitor Faverani the other night, suggesting he can throw a baseball pass equally strong with each arm. When a reporter joked that maybe the open practice could spotlight that talent, Stevens said, "We could do some baseball passes but I’m afraid that -- he can really throw it -- and if there’s a kid sitting in the first six rows, he’ll probably get drilled like the old Dodgeball movie. So we don’t need that either."
Play Podcast Buster Olney chats with Jayson Stark about Ken Griffey Jr.'s uncomfortable interview with Linda Cohn and the value of spring training. Plus, Mike DiGiovanna on the Angels and Derrick Goold on Matt Carpenter's negotiations with the Cardinals.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.