Celtics hope Darius Miles can be key to repeat effort1:00 PM Tue, Sep 23, 2008 | Permalink
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Once Miles returns (he will be eligible for a Nov. 15 visit to Milwaukee), his new teammates will be counting on him to produce the type of offensive spark James Posey provided last season.
"I'm excited about Darius Miles," forward Ray Allen said. "He hasn't played in a while, and he's excited to be here and help this team.
"When people see him play, he'll be a fan favorite. People say he hasn't played in a couple years, but at the same time he has a lot of basketball left in him. He's only 26 years old, and to be able to have him at this stage of his career is going to be great for us."
Miles has missed two years with a microfracture in his right knee; the suspension is for violating the terms of the NBA's antidrug program.
Captain Paul Pierce's evaluation of the Celtics' offseason additions, including draft choices J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker: "We lost Posey [to New Orleans], and he was definitely a key to what we were doing last year.
"But there are a number of guys ready to step in, who can take on a bigger role. Leon Powe, Big Baby [Glen Davis], Tony Allen, Perk [Kendrick Perkins], and the rookies might surprise you. Rajon Rondo is getting better - people forget he is only in his second year. Darius Miles has been looking pretty good; he had a devastating knee injury, but he has been looking good and only time will tell.
"I'm used to having new guys come in fresh out of high school or a year out of college. But J.R. Giddens has three or four years of college experience and Bill Walker is mature for his age  and can definitely help us this year. These guys are much more mature than some of the young players I've been around."
Celtic players have been returning to Boston, last week making appearances in Burlington, Vt., Cambridge, Hartford, and Springfield, and they had a White House reception Friday. Training camp opens Sept. 29 in Waltham, Mass., then moves to Newport the next day.
The Celtics are trying to keep expectations under control as they come off an NBA championship season.
"We have our nucleus back, so we are looking to repeat," Rondo said. "But we are going to take it one step at a time, like last year."
Pierce is not shy about stating the team's goal of attempting to win successive titles.
"I looked up and saw the banner from last season but I also saw we haven't repeated since '68-69," Pierce said. "That's more motivation to repeat. So, let's try to make more history."
The Celtics' 50-member contingent for the White House visit excluded guards Sam Cassell and Eddie House. Cassell remained in Baltimore because of the death of a grandfather and House had a previous commitment, according to the Celtics. P.J. Brown and Scot Pollard, who are no longer with the Celtics, made the trip on the team charter. Brown is staying with his retirement plans, according to the team.
Ray Allen, who played for the University of Connecticut, considered last Thursday's visit to the Connecticut State House a homecoming.
"I adopted Connecticut as my home state," Allen said. "I grew up in the military and I made my home [in Connecticut], it's where I have friends and family.
"I've always said my professional career started here," said Allen during an interview in the office of Governor M. Jodi Rell. "Because there are no pro teams here. I grew up and went to college and watched a lot of Celtics basketball while I was here ... The people here showed their support for the Celtics and we want to show the fans they mean a great deal to us."