Celtics Establish Playoff Momentum with Intense Practice Session: Described as Tougher Than Any Training Camp

Celtics Establish Playoff Momentum with Intense Practice Session: Described as Tougher Than Any Training Camp

When Jrue Holiday stated last week that Joe Mazzulla will likely put the Celtics through some “crazy ass drills” to keep them sharp during the week off before the playoffs, it appeared as though he was kidding.

Celtics react to beloved former teammate retiring: 'We love Blake' -  masslive.com

Perhaps he was serious.

With a week off and no word on their first-round opponent, the Celtics’ practice session on Tuesday at the Auerbach Center was tough.

Al Horford remarked, “Probably harder than any training camp practice we had.” Simply put, a fast pace. It produced a lot.

That was intentional. The exercise continued for at least two hours and could be clearly heard behind closed doors, but it was not open to the media. To replicate the ambiance of a game, in-arena music played nonstop and crowd noise was pumped in. Moving without the ball and toughness drills were part of the session, according to Derrick White.

Brad Stevens tells Jrue Holiday, Derrick White extension thoughts -  masslive.com

Mazzulla hoped to create a new benchmark with a playoff run that should extend into June.

Mazzulla remarked, “That’s what today is, a training camp for the playoffs.” “Everyone starts over; you have to reestablish the routines and the things you have worked so hard to build over the year. Don’t underestimate them, though, at the same time. In my opinion, the lads performed admirably, both mentally and physically, on a day such as today.

“Today feels like the first day of a journey, no matter how long it is.”

Game 1 of the first round on Sunday will mark the beginning of the first chapter, but the Celtics won’t find out who their opponent is until Friday night. On Wednesday, the 76ers take on the Heat for the seventh seed. To determine the No. 8 seed, who will play the Celtics, the loser will play the winner of the Bulls-Hawks game on Wednesday on Friday.

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The Celtics’ only real option up to that point is to improve themselves.

“I believe it’s as straightforward as saying it’s the same as the regular season, no matter who you play in the playoffs,” Mazzulla stated. It all boils down to the playing field’s margins, style, and system. That’s the truth of the matter. We will thus focus on improving as a team and how we can keep cutting the margins on both sides of the court between now and Friday. And realize that while the playoffs receive more attention, winning a basketball game requires the same skills.

White after that?

Brad Stevens saw a selfless player who will do at nothing to win another title the day Holiday arrived in Boston following his unexpected trade on the eve of training camp. He’s shown to be a fantastic fit and an easy choice to keep on a loaded team that has multiple All-Stars, as the Celtics locked him into a four-year agreement last week.

According to Stevens, “Jrue came here, joined our team, and all he tried to do was add to winning.” Furthermore, that never even came into play for a player with his level of accomplishment, who is accustomed to higher usage, repetitions, touches, and all those other things. What sort of a teammate am I being and can I help us win? was all that mattered.

Brad Stevens tells Jrue Holiday, Derrick White extension thoughts -  masslive.com

“Jrue has really impressed me, and I believe that when you consider a group’s long-term needs, it is evident that you need individuals who can play on both ends of the court and excellent players. However, you also want role models for the younger players, and he is someone they should and most definitely do look up to.

Four of the Celtics’ five starters are guaranteed long terms: Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Jaylen Brown, and Holiday have all previously signed extensions. Jayson Tatum is also expected to receive the supermax this summer. Therefore, White, whose contract has one year left on it, will be the next person up for an extension. The C’s undoubtedly want to preserve as much of this championship-caliber core as they can, but extending White will come at an even higher cost.

Stevens remarked, “I can’t talk about much with things that we’re not allowed to discuss until July 1.” “Derrick’s year has been incredible. We want Derrick to be a part of our team for as long as possible because he is an absolutely essential member.

Griffin ends his career

Blake Griffin, who played his final 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics in 2022–2023—officially announced his retirement from basketball on Tuesday. Despite the efforts of his old comrades to entice him back, he never returned.

After six All-Star games and five choices to the All-NBA, Griffin, the No. 1 pick in 2009, inked a contract with the Celtics during training camp the previous season. However, the 34-year-old accepted a lower position because he knew that his best years were behind him. In the Celtics locker room, he was well-liked.

“I was a first-time head coach and I was coaching a former No. 1 choice when we originally signed him. Watch how this plays out,” Mazzulla remarked. And although though I didn’t really know him well, I developed some respect for him. After we made the decision to distance ourselves from him, he approached me and said, “Hey, what can I do to get back?” How can I improve myself? Therefore, it said a lot about him as a person for a guy of his caliber, success, and career duration to approach a new coach with that question.

Blake Griffin announces retirement from NBA after 14 years

“I believe he kind of took over the locker room’s temperature after that. I’m really glad I was able to spend time with him because that was a moment I’ll never forget.

Horford was likewise very grateful for his time spent with Griffin.

“He made the year he was here enjoyable for me,” Horford remarked. Simply put, getting to know him and having daily conversations with him at work was enjoyable. A few things about him personally and off the court. Simply an amazing man. Given all that he has accomplished, he is unquestionably a Hall of Fame player. I will make sure to get in touch with him. We will celebrate when the time comes since he had an amazing career.

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