WALTHAM — With heavy hearts, the Celtics gathered here Tuesday to practice. They were supposed to be preparing for a game against Indiana at TD Garden, but that game was canceled in light of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday.
The NBA office had the final say about whether to cancel the game, and it announced the decision Monday night. Celtics president Rich Gotham said, from the team’s perspective, the cancellation was not about public fear but “it was more a feeling about what’s the right thing to do in this situation.”
Said coach Doc Rivers: “I didn’t want to play the game. We made that clear — Rich and [owner] Wyc [Grousbeck] and our ownership, they were great. It wasn’t the right place, it really wasn’t, to be playing a game of basketball today. No one would have been into it. No one wanted to go to it.”
Gotham said the Celtics are working on a commemorative patch to wear for their final regular-season game Wednesday in Toronto. Gotham added that the Celtics are working on a more extensive patch for the playoffs, which begin Saturday in New York as the Celtics play the Knicks in Game 1 of the first round at Madison Square Garden.
Gotham said Celtics management has not yet sat down with TD Garden officials to discuss increasing security for the playoffs, “but that’s certainly something we’ll be doing along with the Garden, and along with the City of Boston and the police.”
Among the players, Tuesday was a time for reflection and perspective.
Forward Jeff Green lives downtown — he’s the only Celtics player who does, he said — and he was on his way home when he received several text messages. “Then when I got home, I saw it on the news,” he said. “That’s when it really hit home.”
Green said it was “absolutely” right to cancel Tuesday’s game and that it’s hard to focus on basketball at a time like this.
“I mean, you’re talking about people’s lives in danger,” he said.
“Compared to somebody’s life, basketball is nothing. We just want to make sure everybody’s safe and do the right thing.”
“It really sets in, because any one of us could’ve been driving through that area,” said forward Shavlik Randolph. “I even thought about going and watching [the race]. I haven’t spent a lot of time up in Boston, and knowing how big of a deal that marathon was …
“It could’ve been any one of us to be one of the people that got injured or hurt in that.”
Green added, “This is a strong city. I think we’re going to do everything possible to help the victims and families and help the city come back and get back to the way it was. It’s going to be tough, because I don’t think the city really had anything like this happen before.
“Whatever we can do, whatever I can do, I’m willing to help, because it’s a tough thing to get through.”