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Celtics getting used to all the changes

Jameer Nelson had not played in six previous games before being traded by the Celtics.WILLIE J. ALLEN JR./ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Celtics have made three trades in the last week, shuttling out Jeff Green, Brandan Wright, and Jameer Nelson, leaving those left in the locker room to ponder who’s next.

On Wednesday, coach Brad Stevens met with his team. Two of the players acquired from Dallas for Rajon Rondo on Dec. 18 (Wright and Nelson) already have been traded. The players acquired for Green — Tayshaun Prince and Austin Rivers — likely will never make an appearance in a Celtics uniform.

And the player acquired for Nelson, former Celtic Nate Robinson, is close to accepting a buyout from the club, meaning 12 players were in uniform for Wednesday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.


“I just ask them to e-mail me a roster every morning,” Stevens joked before the game. “There’s been a lot of change, and again the hard part is the guys that are outgoing that you create a relationship with, I really enjoyed and spent time with, even if it’s just for a small amount of time.

“But the majority of the guys that are here have been here. Some of them are playing extended roles. Some of them are being thrown to the wolves. But I feel good about how our guys know what they need to do to compete at both ends of the court. We’ve had a lot of change but certainly that change seems to be winding down as far as the number of moves and all of those things.”

Nelson, who did not play in the previous six games before being traded, talked with Stevens two weeks ago about his diminishing role. The organization decided to use Marcus Smart as the backup point guard, relegating Nelson to the inactive list.

“He’s got a lot going on in the fact that he’s been in three different places in four weeks,” Stevens said of Nelson. “It’s been just a text exchange since [Tuesday] night. I really enjoyed him. He was great. He’s a professional guy.”


Meanwhile, the players appear resigned to the team’s immediate fate.

“We pretty much did a roll call this morning,” Evan Turner said. “Evan, here. Jared [Sullinger], here. That’s pretty much why we met. Coach just spoke on how much confidence he had in us and how important it is to just really prepare and just keep taking each day and making the most out of it.”

Turner was a member last season of the 76ers, who made lineup changes in an attempt to rebuild, including trading Turner to Indiana.

“I think the one thing that’s even better here is everybody is familiar with each other,” Turner said. “There’s still seven or eight guys here that have been together for at least a year. Last year was kind of crazy because we were switching players every other day. Here, it’s a little bit more stable. It really hasn’t affected me too much. Usually when they bring people in here I’ve heard of them before.”

One step back

The Celtics’ defense took a beating Wednesday, allowing the Hawks to shoot 49.3 percent, including 57.4 percent in the first three quarters.

The Celtics entered the game having held the last four opponents to 40.9 percent shooting, including a 5-for-23 performance by the Pelicans in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s Celtics win.

“We’re really focused on it,” Stevens said prior to the game of the defense. “That’s what we’re spending all of our talking and time on. We want to continue to play the same way offensively with pace and purposeful movement and doing it as a team, but they’re going to be games where we struggle to score a little bit, and in those games the question whether we’ll be in it or not is, are we defending at a high level? And we have to defend at a high level.”


Jae Crowder has recently given the Celtics stellar defense early in games, something they have struggled with in the past few weeks.

“He’s still getting used to our system and I think that’s something that’s going to take some time,” Stevens said. “But his physicality and he’s got a huge motor, and those things add up on that end of the floor. I think he could be a good defender for us. I like his grit. I like his toughness. We don’t expect him to score 22 points a night but he works the right away and hopefully we can keep getting better and getting more comfortable.”

Turner hurts thumb

Turner walked out of the locker room after the game with his right thumb heavily wrapped, saying he hyperextended it when he hit the knee of Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll. Turner will have the thumb examined and his status for Friday’s game against Chicago is uncertain . . . While Prince, Rivers, and Robinson are on the roster, they have not been been assigned uniform numbers and were not at the arena Wednesday night. Robinson’s buyout cannot be completed until Nelson passes his physical with the Nuggets . . . The Hawks, who rested Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Carroll for Tuesday’s 105-87 win over the 76ers, gave Al Horford and Kyle Korver the night off against the Celtics. The Celtics were glad to see Korver on the sideline. His 77 3-pointers against Boston are his third most against any team. He has 80 against Charlotte and 78 against the Knicks.


Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GwashburnGlobe.