By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics arrived in San Francisco on Monday and did one of the only things they’re allowed to do during their five-game West Coast swing. The team hit the practice floor.

Usually, a lengthy road trip is a perfect opportunity for a team to come together. They’d spend most of their waking time together, hitting local restaurants and even partaking in some fun team-bonding excursions. That, unfortunately, is not in the cards this time around due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Instead, the Celtics will be spending most of their time in hotels. They’ll still be together, but it just won’t be the same as in the past when they hit the road for a week.

So when the team touched down on Monday, head coach Brad Stevens had them lace up and practice. That decision was two-fold, a way of helping the team adjust to the time change, and because Stevens doesn’t know when they’ll be able to practice again in the near future. The Celtics don’t have two days off in a row for the rest of the month, with 16 games over the next 28 days.

“It was important that we practiced because I don’t know when we’ll practice again before the break in March. If we do, it’ll be super light or small group work,” said Stevens. “And when you change time zones, you’re sitting on a plane for a long, long day. It’s good to move a little bit. It also keeps you up a little bit longer and helps you adjust to the time.”

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The trip tips off Tuesday night with a tilt against the Golden State Warriors. It will be one of four games on the trip with a 10 p.m. start time. After 10 p.m. starts against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and the L.A. Clippers on Friday, the schedule-makers threw a 2 p.m. start time for Sunday’s matchup with the Phoenix Suns. (Rumor has it there is this other big sporting event taking place on Sunday evening.) The trip will conclude with another 10 p.m. start against the Utah Jazz next Tuesday.

So all of that will certainly take some adjusting for these East coasters, and practicing on Monday night upon their arrival will provide a little bit of help in that department. Stevens also said there really isn’t anything else for his team to do out West.

“I think there are some city ordinances and rules in place; you’re not supposed to eat together or leave the hotel,” he said of the local rules due to the pandemic. “We’re not only under the NBA guidelines and enforcement, but under whatever city or state we’re in and what their regulations are. It’s not typical from the standpoint where this would be a time to bond and spend time together.

“But it’s one of the reasons we wanted to practice when we got out here. We can do that. We can come to the gym and that’s encouraging,” he added.

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However unconventional the trip may be, Boston is hoping it will bring them together during a tough stretch of the season. The team has lost two straight and five of its last seven, dropping to 10-8 on the season. Staff