WALTHAM -- The Celtics hosted their first open practice of the regular season in Waltham on Tuesday, and Kevin Garnett sent a clear message to his new teammates: Buy into the Celtics system of practicing how you play, knowing your role, being unselfish and doing it all with a level of consistency.
"While I’m here, we’re not going to change that culture," said Kevin Garnett. "When I’m gone, that’s another story, but for right now, this is the way we are. In the last two days, we’ve been playing with an edge, and it’s just about consistency. ... I’ve always worried about the consistency of this team and where we are with some of our habits. When we stay with those consistencies, we’re hard as [expletive] to beat. When we get away from them, we’re trash. It’s as simple as that."
In practice, Garnett could be seen talking trash to a medicine ball he was throwing against a padded wall or holding a conversation with himself, pointing to his temple and smacking his head as punishment for a missed practice shot. Whatever he was doing, he did it at full speed.
"He practices like he plays in the game," said Jason Terry. "I think that’s very hard to do, especially for as long as he’s done it for. I know for myself, I’m not a practice guy, so to watch him go out every day and practice, it just makes me work even harder. That’s something I’ve had to work at, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. Does it hurt? Yes it does, but you see why he’s been in the league and been so effective as long as he has. It’s because he creates good habits, and it starts in practice."
As for games, Garnett is averaging 13.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.3 steals in 28.7 minutes during the team's disappointing 1-2 start to the season -- all well below his C's career averages. Not to worry, says Garnett.
"Within the flow of offense, I pick and choose," he said. "I try to use my discretion and IQ to when I have to be aggressive at times. When [Rajon] Rondo or Paul [Pierce] says something to me, I know it’s a little more immediate to me, but other than that, I like to get the ball moving.
"Since I’ve been in the league, that’s probably been my flaw, if you want to call it that, that I’m too unselfish. I think that’s absurd, but who cares anyway? That’s who I’ve been. That’s my makeup. I’ve got 18 years in this now, and it’s gotten me this far, so I’ve done a good job of balancing it out. This is November. We still have [five] more months to play. I’ve never been a fast starter but a decent finisher, and I’ll find a balance."
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