“The only difference is we’ll hear it in the locker room. You’ll hear all the speeches and the noise.”
The Celtics went with four of the starters (Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett, Pierce, Rondo) who concluded last season against the Heat, with Courtney Lee replacing Allen. During the preseason, rookie Jared Sullinger started five times and Bass three times at the power forward position.
“Playing Miami, it’s easy,” Rivers said of the decision, “because they run a lot of 3-4 pick-and-roll. Brandon has the ability to switch, so it’s easy for us.”
The Celtics’ opening-day lineup in New York last year included Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, plus Jermaine O’Neal and Sasha Pavlovic.
The Celtics exercised a fourth-year option on guard Avery Bradley, extending his contract through the 2013-14 season.
“I’m excited, can’t wait — I have another year to be a Celtic,” Bradley said before the game. “I’m just looking at it as a chance to keep improving, and, hopefully, I can stay here longer.
“It shows a lot of confidence in me, seeing I’m injured [shoulder operations]. It means I’ve just got to continue to work hard. My hard work got me my third year and fourth year. It makes me hungrier to get back and get the sixth or seventh year.”
Bradley plans to return from the surgeries in December.
“It’s going good right now,” he said. “Taking it slow, my shot’s getting better, I’m moving more, able to lift. I’m not trying to do too much, even though I want to.
“Being in this atmosphere, nothing like a big game. I wish I was playing. But I’m going slow and by December maybe I can start doing contact things.”
“He’s a great kid,” said Rivers. “He works as hard as any kid that I know. He’s going to keep getting better. I’m glad I get to keep coaching him.”
Getting around it
The Celtics altered their travel routine, arriving two days before the game and scheduling a Wednesday afternoon return flight to avoid the storms. “I’ve checked on everybody back home,” Rivers said of the effects of the weather. “Last year we had snow in October and all the lines were knocked out.” . . . Rivers said he had not contacted Allen since the team arrived Sunday. “I haven’t tried, I haven’t not tried,” Rivers said. “I have a bunch of guys I have to get familiar with, so that’s my focus.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.