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Fabio Anderle's Euro Report: Friday Notes

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kgsuit.JPG Early wake up call today: for the last session at Palafonte, the NBA has decided to switch the usual 30’ of media availability to the beginning of the workout. That way, the press can pack up and board  the shuttle to PalaLottomatica to see how the Toronto Raptors are faring. Later, the schedule plans a visit to the "Campidoglio" a wonderful scenario where representatives of the Celtics and the Raptors will meet Rome’s mayor Walter Veltroni.

Ray Allen is not the only one willing to try the experience of a scooter ride in Rome: Michele and I reached the gym on one of those dangerous bikes, and it was quite an experience, let me add. Just the time to put the helmet off, and we saw the two team buses lazily parking in the reserved area and the players heading for the locker room. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were all carrying a suit with them, possibly because they were bound to attend the meeting with the mayor.

Hearsay is that Kevin Garnett yesterday brought some of the rookies with him and bought them some top class suits in the famous shops of Via Condotti, and from what I saw (and you can see that in Michele’s photo) he took good care of his wardrobe too. 

"Media Availability" was quiet this morning. Garnett was very patient with a group of Italian journalists who stormed in a flock. He said all the right things: he doesn’t feel the pressure for being the top paid player in the NBA, and he is eager to help the younger player to understand what it takes to be an NBA player.

Scot Pollard won’t be in the game tomorrow. He isn’t ready yet, and seeing him in the game tomorrow would be an ill conceived move and would really surprise me.

We only got to watch the first 30’ minutes of the workout, with "Doc" Rivers having the "Green Team" (Rondo, Ray Allen, Pierce, Garnett and Perkins) running a couple of man-to-man offensive plays. Then it was time for Bryan Doo to take control, and conditioning was the word.  In the meantime, Ray Allen was doing some exercising to strengthen his ankles under the keen eye of Walter Norton. Then time was up, and we were left collecting our thoughts on a week of intense workouts.

First impression: the Triple Threat (is this better than "Big Three", Doc?) is for real. They weren’t always as sharp or dominant as you would have expected them to be, but their charisma was good for the working habits of the whole bunch, which seemed to react in a positive way.

James Posey is good. We all knew that he was able to hit from downtown, but what impressed me was the way he kept attacking the hoop again and again. Eddie House has been used mainly at the shooting guard spot, and this fact puzzled me a little because I expected him to sub in for Rajon at the point guard spot. House was very vocal, and I was pleased to see him going at full speed in every scrimmage I saw.

Rondo is aware that the coaching staff  has put its trust on him, and he seemed to be focused on running the plays in the smoothest way. Perkins is in great shape, his chiselled body is ready for the season and he runs as if he had never suffered because of that nasty plantar fasciitis. Scalabrine looked more relaxed: his role in this team should help him more than during the last season, and his shooting touch is still there: with the presence of such good players around him, he could end up exploiting his dangerous jumper more than expected.

Tony Allen went very hard for the whole week. He is not yet the leaper he used to be, and the knee admittedly still bothers him at times, but it is getting better and hopefully will be able to contribute from the bench.  Batista seemed to have secured a spot in the roster in the first part of the week, but we will see if the Celtics management thinks he is what the team needs.

Powe showed glances of brilliance on the offensive boards, and some weaknesses on defense, but the kid is a hard worker and he progressed during the week. Gabe Pruitt has fully recovered from his ankle problems, and hit a lot of shots during the drills, but seemed to have some problems when facing particularly aggressive opponents. He is still learning the ropes, and he’ll probably be all right.

"Big Baby" Davis is HUGE. Quite a character, great footwork and a stingy jumper are his trademarks, although his rebounding was not as impressive as in the Summer League. Different competition here, though… Jackie Manuel, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Wallace, they all showed signs of vitality here and there, but in all likelihood only one of them will make the roster. Steve Pagliuca is in Rome too, and he attended the training sitting alongside Danny Ainge and assistant coach Dave Wohl.

This is all for today, Italian fans are getting more and more excited and the PalaLottomatica game is sold out. Boston and Toronto will face off tomorrow, with the tip-off scheduled at 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. in Boston).