NEW YORK — Playing at Madison Square Garden never gets old for the Coney-Island raised Sebastian Telfair. And that is good news for the Celtics considering they play the first of six games against the Knicks tonight at the historic arena. Starting at point guard, Telfair will be matched up with his cousin Stephon Marbury. While there were rumors of family friction in the past, Marbury said everything between the two point guards is ‘‘fine.’’
‘‘Our relationship is fine,’’ said Marbury. ‘‘I always look forward to playing against him because I see myself when I play him. I see something that I created. [When he was younger], he was seeing the things that I was doing. He saw me play basketball. When he was young, I was in the NBA. Now, he’s starting to understand he’s in a situation where he can be the person who carries on the legacy of being from Coney Island. Knowing his cousin did it first, it puts things into perspective of how things are.’’
When asked how things are from his perspective, Marbury added: ‘‘As far as everyone wants to put us up against each other, it’s not about who’s better. Everybody gets his turn. We’re on the same page. We both have an understanding of who we are as basketball players and who we are as people.’’
Marbury believes ‘‘it’s all about the mindset’’ for Telfair this season, that his cousin will succeed with the Celtics if he prepares for games mentally as well as physically. For Telfair, the right mental preparation actually may entail not thinking too much or too hard. Coach Doc Rivers would like Telfair to rely more on his natural basketball instincts when running the uptempo offense. Telfair is working on thinking less and becoming more comfortable with his new team. With each passing exhibition game, Telfair looks a little more natural on the court and, more importantly, his play is more effective.
‘‘[Rivers] thinks I’m better going out there and just playing,’’ said Telfair. ‘‘When I play without thinking too much, I think I make less mistakes out there. The more I get to play with guys, the more I know where they’re going to be at to get my assists. I know how to pick when I shoot and when not to shoot. It’s just gelling with the team, the more I play the more comfortable I get with guys.’’