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BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics rookie center Greg Stiemsma could see some more playing time as Boston battles a current rash of injuries.
Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass are doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Pistons, and with Jermaine O’Neal still hurting from a bad shoulder, Stiemsma knows it will likely be his time to go.
“With some guys going down all season other guys have had to step up. Tonight could be one of those nights that I know I have to step up a bit,” he told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich in his weekly appearance.
His playing time has been sporadic this season, making it tough to get into a groove on the floor. But that, he says, is all part of life on an NBA bench.
“I think sometimes when you hop in there you get a feel right away. Other games it kind of takes a few possessions. In my situation, sometimes you don’t get those possessions to get the feel. I have to especially focus on being ready and getting into that feel as soon as possible. I have make sure I’m paying attention on the bench, making sure I know what is going on in the scouting reports and know what I’m looking for when I do get in so I can get that feel as soon as possible. That’s part of being a pro-athlete; it’s part of my job.”
After starting the season with three games on the road, the Celtics have not had back-to-back road games since. After hosting the Pistons Wednesday night, they head out on a five game road trip (with the All-Star break sprinkled in between), something Stiemsma has yet to experience in the NBA. With the veteran leadership they have, he doesn’t see it as something that the Celtics will struggle with.
“I think with the experience we have, with the team that we have, I don’t think being on the road is going to affect us in a negative way. We still go out and play our style of basketball, Celtics basketball, and we’re tough to beat. We’re on pace with anyone in the league on a night to night basis.”
Playing on the road in the NBA is a lot different from playing on the road overseas, which Stiemsma experienced during his time in Turkey and Korea. For one, he gets his own room now on the road, in addition to all the other travel perks that differ from his overseas experience.
“There are no real excuses when you play on the road,” he said. “We haven’t had a ton of nights where we’ve been in towns to really get out on the town or even have a day off on the road. This will be a new experience for me and a few of the rookies to see what the NBA life on the road is like.”
Hear more from Stiemsma, including his take on Doc Rivers’ outburst last Friday in Toronto