WALTHAM, Mass. – If experience counts, the Boston Celtics should have an edge coming out of the lockout. Four players have been through two of them.

Kevin Garnett already had played three seasons when his first NBA lockout began on July 1, 1998. Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal were two-year veterans. And Paul Pierce was looking to his first season after being taken with the 10th pick in the draft.

That lockout lasted 204 days, ended on Jan. 20, 1999 and shortened the season to 50 games. This year’s lockout was shorter, allowing the league to put together a 66-game schedule. But with fewer off days, it will take a toll on players’ bodies.

So Allen, 36, made sure he reported for the opening of camp last Friday in excellent shape.

“There were some guys back in ’99 that when you saw them it was like, holy cow, like this guy was on vacation for the last three months and didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight,” he said Tuesday.

He wasn’t worried that the CeltICs would have that problem.

“We’ve got too many strong-minded individuals in this locker room,” he said. “For most of us, working out is a way of life.”

But there’s a difference between jogging on a treadmill and running up and down the court.

When Coach Doc Rivers held a scrimmage Monday, he knew his players were in no condition to hustle for an extended period.

“Honestly, I think we’re in terrible shape,” he said. “Everybody looked good. Their body fat tests looked great and all that stuff, and basketball-wise, when we’re doing drills, they looked great.

“But when we put them five-on-five and threw the ball in the air, they needed 20-second breaks after about a minute.”


KENNY ANDERSON, a former Boston Celtics point guard, was charged in Miramar, Fla., with leaving a scene of an accident.