WALTHAM — Celtics fans certainly enjoy watching their young team improve, but whether they enjoy watching them win is another matter. With a four-game winning streak, the Celtics have put some distance between themselves and the Memphis Grizzlies in the quest for the NBA’s worst record and best probability of drawing the No. 1 pick and a choice between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant (if they come out).
Memphis (15-46) is now 3 1/2 games behind — or ahead of, depending on your point of view — the Celtics (17-42). Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, who was on hand today following practice, found it comical that the team, which was ridiculed during its franchise-record 18-game losing streak, would now be criticized for winning too much.
“Well, I feel like we can’t do anything right,” said Grousbeck. “When we’re losing we’re not doing it right. Now, that we’re winning we’re not doing it right. I’m very confused by all that. I know that we had over 18,000 people in the building on Sunday and every single one of them wanted a win and so did I.”
Grousbeck said his club still has something to play for this season besides ping-pong balls — hope.
“The most important thing to do is to teach these young kids how to win games and also to keep the veterans encouraged and engaged, starting with Paul [Pierce],” said Grousbeck. “Paul knows that these guys can play. Paul has said publicly and privately he believes in these kids. It’s nice for us all to start believing in these kids and to see Al [Jefferson] step up. The draft choice will come, but right now we’re trying to win some games.”
Big Al Cautious
Jefferson said he thought he might be in trouble when Doc Rivers called him to tell him he had been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
“I was sitting at home and Doc called me and I got nervous,” said Jefferson. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Rivers said that Jefferson thanked him for giving him playing time. The Celtics coach told Jefferson he didn’t give him anything. Big Al earned it.
“I guess, he’s right,” said Jefferson.
The Celtics big man said he’s not content with just one award. “It’s something I’m always going to remember, but hopefully I’ll get the Player of the Month and maybe one day the Player of the Year. It’s just going to motivate me to work harder.”
Tony Allen, who is out for the season with a torn ACL and cartilage damage in his left knee, made a brief cameo during the media availability period. He appeared to be waiting for Gerald Green, who was doing some post-practice shooting and ball-handling drills, to finish up. The two walked out together.
A reminder: the start of Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls has been moved to 6 p.m. It was originally listed on the schedule as a 3:30 p.m. start, when ABC was going to televise the contest. Also, remember to account for Daylight Savings Time.