BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics got a few days rest after beating the Miami Heat 91-72 on Sunday, but hope to keep the momentum going from the big win.
“That was a good one; it was one we really needed to win,” center Greg Stiemsma told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Wednesday morning. “We wanted to make a statement with that game and show other teams in our conference that when we’re playing at a high level, we think we’re the top team in the conference.”
Now the Celtics enter a tough part of their April schedule, with 11 games in 15 nights that includes four back-to-backs along with a three games in three nights stretch.
“We know this last little stretch is going to be pretty tough,” said Stiemsma. “But we’ve put ourselves in a situation that we kind of control our own destiny. We’re not going to make any excuses and we know we are going to have to go out and perform every night, no matter how tired or how bumped and bruised or whatever we may be.”
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The Celtics are expecting to get guard Ray Allen back Wednesday night against the Spurs, and Stiemsma doesn’t think it will take the veteran sharpshooter long to get back in the flow of things.
“I don’t think he’s going to miss a step. I think we’ve been playing well without him and we’ll be even better with him back.’
Second-year guard Avery Bradley took over for Ray and played very well. There has been speculation that Bradley could start over Allen, so does Stiemsma see a problem brewing in the Celtics locker room?
“Avery has been playing great, he brings energy and defensive intensity that Ray doesn’t quite as much because Avery guards the point guard the whole length of the floor to mess up the team’s offense. But at the same time when you have a guy like Ray Allen, one of the best shooters of all time, he brings another dimension too. I think we can work that combination out; neither are going to care who starts and who gets what minutes. As long as we play well and win games, that’s the main goal everyone is going to be focused on.”
Bradley has received plenty of love from his teammates, especially Keyon Dooling and Marquis Daniels, who take time to fire him up before every game. Kevin Garnett is a big fan of Stiemsma, and well-known for his ferocious demeanor. Has Garnett ever gotten in Stiemsma’s face prior to a game to motivate him?
“Not to the extent where Keyon and Marquis were getting Avery fired up, but there have been times this whole year when KG or some of the other vets have come over and reminded me the season is a grind and you can’t get down about the negatives and enjoy the positives,” said Stiemsma. “We don’t have time to worry about the bad stuff; let that go and get on to the next play, next game and keep that positive energy and ride it as much as you can.”
How did Garnett play into Stiemsma getting a deal with Boston? How does Stiemsma anticipate taking on the Spurs’ Tim Duncan on Wednesday night? And what is Doc Rivers like in the film room? Hear all if that and more with Greg Stiemsma on Toucher & Rich!