Watch CBS News

Ainge On Toucher & Rich: We Need To Earn Fans' Respect

BOSTON (CBS) -- On the morning after the Celtics turned in an impressive effort in a season-opening win over the Brooklyn Nets, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Toucher & Rich.

"It was good game last night," Ainge said. "It was fun to watch, there was a lot of energy."

It's the type of night that Ainge looks forward to seeing on a regular basis from his young team.

"I think there are the die-hard Celtics fans. I don't think the whole city of Boston knows about this team yet, so we have to earn their respect. I think last night was a good step in that," Ainge said. "I think our team is young, and so that usually comes with it a little bit of inconsistency. I've really enjoyed being around this team. I love watching this team. I look forward to watching them play each night. They play with great passion, they play together, they play defense. I'm excited about this team. I think Brad [Stevens] really has these guys playing in an exciting way and in a way that is consistent to winning."

After the team chucked up 22 3-point attempts against the Nets, Ainge was asked about the team's philosophy.

"Brad never really discusses 3-point shooting to the team," Ainge explained. "We practice 3-point shooting because if you're spacing the floor, if you have the right amount of space for the players to operate in the paint or off penetration, you have to have the court spread. So you have to start your positioning by starting outside the 3-point line if you don't have the ball, so [you're] allowing guys to get to the basket. So the theme for Brad is pace and space. So he's trying to keep up the pace and he's trying to keep the floor spread. And that's really all he has to say. He doesn't encourage guys to shoot a lot of 3's, but he does encourage guys when they're open to take shots. Last night we didn't take that many 3's, but there will be game where we take more 3's, and I think teams are going to start defending the 3, and that should open up the paint to score more on the inside."

As for the return of Rajon Rondo, who was a game-time decision and ultimately ended up returning well ahead of schedule from his injured hand, Ainge was not surprised to see the point guard play so well.

"He wants to get back to that echelon of point guards," Ainge said of Rondo, who finished with 13 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. "And people have sort of forgotten about him because last year he played coming off the knee injury and so forth, and he wasn't who he was. It was encouraging to see Rajon last night, he had so much enthusiasm, he was like a little kid. He was like Marcus Smart last night, he was really wound up and he played with great intensity."

Overall, Ainge is feeling good after a successful opening night.

"I think we have a chance to have a fun year this year," he said.

Listen to the full discussion below:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.