LOS ANGELES — Last summer, Terrence Williams worked out with the Celtics, but after it was over he was told it wasn’t going to work out. And Williams said he cried.
But as of Wednesday, Williams, whom the team signed to a 10-day contract Monday, is officially a member of the Celtics, after his paperwork went through.
“It’s an honor to even be able to wear the color and be apart of the organization, especially with the history,” Williams said before the Lakers and Celtics played at Staples Center. “I’m still in shock, but I need to get out of shock relatively fast because we have a game coming up.”
Coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t yet sure what role Williams would play, but Williams is at least a body — a bonus for a team with only had 10 healthy players.
Williams, a lottery pick of the Nets in 2009, has played for the Nets, Houston and Sacramento, averaging 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 129 games. Most recently, he played for a team in the Chinese Basketball Association.
“He’s an athletic wing, a good ball handler, capable of making plays for others,” said guard Courtney Lee, who played in New Jersey and Houston with Williams. “He’s a great rebounder and at times can be a great defender, so he’s definitely going to help us.”
Williams’s NBA career has had ups and downs, and he has been fined and suspended before for repeatedly breaking team rules, but he said playing in China taught him a lesson.
“I cared about basketball, but I didn’t care about putting the work into basketball,” Williams said. “Now, if you go to China for even a day, you learn how to be professional. You want to come back so fast.’’
Of what he’s noticed about being with the Celtics for a couple days, Williams said, “From the players to the coaches to the staff to everybody, it’s so professional.’’
The memories of these teams’ Feb. 7 meeting in Boston still resonate with Lakers center Dwight Howard. That marked his first game back after missing three with injuries, and he didn’t play well at all as the Celtics rolled, 116-95, at TD Garden.
“We looked at the film and I think we were all disgusted with our effort as a team,” said Howard, who had 9 points and nine rebounds in that game.
At that point, the Celtics were playing their sixth game without Rajon Rondo and their fifth without Jared Sullinger.
Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni came away impressed with how the Celtics have adjusted while missing key pieces, and he reiterated that sentiment Wednesday.
“They move the ball extremely well,” he said. “[They’re] a different team, but they’ve found some good balance. Guys are starting to step up in his place. They probably have even better ball movement and it’s a little harder to guard.
“They’ve done OK, and they’re dangerous, with or without [Rondo].”
During the Celtics’ nationally-televised game Tuesday night against Denver, TNT analysts Greg Anthony and Chris Webber echoed those comments.
As for the Celtics playoff hopes, Webber said, “They can get as high as fourth seed in the East or as low as the eighth. If they make the playoffs, they are going to be a team you don’t want to play.’’
Rest on horizon
After playing nine road games in 11 days, the Celtics will have a nice break.
Following their Feb. 25 game at Utah, the Celtics play one game in eight days, a home game against Golden State on March 1.
The Celtics could use that time off for some much-needed rest and relaxation, but Rivers has other plans as well.
“It gives us a chance to work on some stuff that we really haven’t had a chance to work on,” Rivers said. “Hopefully we have one or even two new players by then. I’ll give some of the guys a lot of time off, but I’ll work some of the guys. So far, we don’t know who those guys are going to be, so we’ll just have to wait to see.”
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m.
Will the team the Celtics fielded against the Lakers be intact when that deadline passes?
“I don’t know,” Rivers said. “I’m asked that every year the night before the trade deadline. I give the same answer: I have no idea.”
In honor of their late owner, Jerry Buss, the Lakers wore commemorative “JB” patches on their jersey, a trend that they’ll continue for the rest of the season. The Lakers aired a video tribute to Buss, who died Monday at 80 after a battle with cancer. Kobe Bryant said a few words praising Buss. There was also a moment of silence and a spotlight on Buss’s owners’ suite. “Everybody is sad about his passing, but we’re trying to lift each other up,” Howard said.Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org You can follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.