Sound bites

For many fans, the game against the Timberwolves is one of the most anticipated of the season, as we'll be seeing a lot of our old friends.  What do the players think, though?  Timberwolves.com and Celtics.com posted some of their thoughts: 

Al Jefferson:

On facing his old team:
Jefferson: I look at Boston like I look at Phoenix ... just another game. Definitely, (we are building confidence). We beat two great teams and we were there at the end with Denver. It feels good going back to Boston. It's like family to me. (Boston coach) Doc Rivers and I still keep in touch. Tony Allen is one of my closest friends. It always feels good to go back.

On playing against Kevin Garnett:
Jefferson: One thing about Kevin Garnett ... when he steps on the court, he's going as hard as he can until the end. That's one thing that I've always respected about him. I look at (Kevin) like I look at Amaré Stoudamire ... When you step on the court, you have to bring your 'A' game. You have to go one hundred and ten percent.

On the trade:
Jefferson: I was glad from day one. Like I've always said, Boston and Minnesota are on two different levels. Boston is trying to win a championship right now. Minnesota is trying to rebuild. Being traded gave me an opportunity to become a leader. I had to grow up fast. This was a chance to have a team built around me. I was happy that it happened from day one."

On if his game has changed since the trade:
Jefferson: I had to grow up fast. I had to. I'm a different type of a player. I feel that when I step on the court; if I play well, do well, rebound well, all the little things ... that sets an example for my teammates. They look at me as the guy that is going to set that example like they looked at Kevin Garnett or how (Boston) looks at Kevin Garnett right now. That's the difference between now and last year.

I don't know if I completely believe Big Al that he was happy about the trade "from day one".  There were plenty of reports and rumors that he was upset, and never wanted to leave Boston.  Still, even if he's being less than candid, you've got to appreciate him showing leadership on his new squad.

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Ryan Gomes:

On returning to Boston:
Gomes: For me, I'm from that area. I will have family at the game. I'll be able to talk to them after the game but I'm focused on the game and trying to get a win. Two games in a row and hopefully we'll be able to steal another one against the best team in the East.

On facing his old coach and teammates:
Gomes: I'm going to think of it a little bit like practice ... like starters versus the other guys. There's just more competition.

Jerry Sichting (Twolves assistant coach and former Celtic):

On facing the Celtics:
Sichting: We'll see (if there's extra motivation). I think everyone wants to play well against their former team. We'll have to see how each guy responds. They only have one guy that's dealing with it; we have more than one obviously. Different guys are probably handling it differently, but everyone will be ready to play, whether they were involved in the trade or not. (Boston) is coming off a couple losses, (including) a couple home losses. They are going to be ready to play. We talked to our guys last night and today that we have to start expecting to play like we have the last few games, instead of every five or six games. We have to be more consistent. 

Kevin Garnett (click here for audio ):

"I want y'all to understand something. A lot of the guys I played with in Minnesota are not even on this team. It's like a brand-new team. The personnel, the trainers and people behind the scenes are probably a little more important than some of the people who are on the court," Garnett said, noting that of the guys on the team, only "Mad Dog" Mark Madsen had been a teammate for more than a year or two.

Asked if he regretted hanging on to a tough situation so long in Minnesota, Garnett simply emphasized that enjoyed his days with the Timberwolves.

"I have no regrets for loyalty. I thank the fans for being behind me," Garnett said. "Minnesota knows they have a special place in my heart when it comes to the people there. That's my connection there and it will always be a connection. But right now I'm in Boston and I'm enjoying it."

Doc Rivers:

"I'd rather think about the good times I had with them coaching," Rivers said. "They were terrific kids, all of them, fun to coach, they improved each month, each day. When you think about all we went through, we had very little turmoil. The team was extremely close. They're good people."

"Al's going to be an All-Star. With his numbers, he would have made it this year, but their record will prevent him from making it. He has All-Star numbers, he doesn't have an All-Star team."

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