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Celtics bond

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  October 4, 2007 02:54 PM

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ROME -- The Celtics franchise enjoyed a traditional, and long, Italian team dinner late tonight. But the players have been enjoying meals and spending a lot of time together since arriving to Rome last Sunday.

“We’ve been getting together every night, pretty much,” forward Paul Pierce said. “Last night was pretty much like the official team dinner with the coaches and the whole staff. But as far as the team, we’ve been hanging with one another and soaking this whole atmosphere up.

“It was about a three-hour dinner. But it was all fun, and we got to be around each other and constantly build something. When we got here we started from ground zero, but I can see the foundation and we’re definitely growing.”

Pierce was also still happy about his bald head that he now has as a way with bonding with the four other players he will be starting with. But while the five-time NBA All-Star is happy with the shaved head, he is curious to what the Celtics fans think.

“I’m really feeling it,” Pierce said. “I’ve been getting some positive feed back. Hopefully, the fans on Celtics.com approve it. NBA.com, if they want to put a poll out, we’ll see if ya’ll approve it. It’s all about giving the people what they want. If they don’t like it, then I’m going to have to bring the hair back. If they approve it, I might keep it.”

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: “We learned the Italian tradition of having five-hour dinners. That got a little long.”

The Celtics also took a private tour of the Vatican Museum Wednesday afternoon after practice. Celtics forward Leon Powe also took a tour of Rome today.

“I just loved it,” said Rivers, about the Vatican tour. “Just the attention to detail, the little things that you see when you got there. The history. All the guys were walking around together and talking and learning stuff that you clearly wouldn’t learn on the basketball court about Michelangelo. It was absolutely a fantastic tour for us.”

On Friday, several Celtics and Raptors players are going to visit the Mayor of Rome. The Celtics and Raptors open preseason play against each other here Saturday. The Celtics also will use special uniforms with red, white and green colors in it Saturday in tribute of Italy’s national colors, but the jerseys won’t be for sale

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