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Celtics’ confidence grows following European sweep

Despite his team’s impressive performances overseas, coach Brad Stevens believes the Celtics have “a lot of cleaning up to do.” Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

WALTHAM — The Celtics returned home from their European business trip a more confident bunch about their depth, ability, and potential. They soundly defeated two European teams without the services of a pair of major contributors.

Amir Johnson missed the win over Real Madrid with a stomach virus, and Evan Turner missed both games with a strained right knee. Both returned to practice Sunday as the Celtics prepare to use what they learned overseas against NBA competition.

Johnson, who said he is nearing 100 percent, was impressed by what he observed in the two wins.

“We definitely move the ball well and the one thing I noticed is we play very hard,” he said. “It just shows what type of team we are. We have a great team and we’re definitely willing to get better. It shows the camaraderie of these guys.”


Celtics coach Brad Stevens did not want to put too much stock in the two victories considering they came against lesser competition than the NBA.

“I thought we played hard but I thought we had a lot of cleaning up to do,” he said. “We showed a little bit of film [Sunday]. We felt like we needed to run the cobwebs out. The score doesn’t mean a lot. One thing we didn’t get a chance to do is work in any late-game situations.

“We still have to get a lot better. The emphases have been well embraced, it’s just a matter of cleaning things up and getting ready to play against better teams.”

Forward-center David Lee came away impressed with the ball movement and depth.

“I think I need to be in unbelievable shape with the guys in that first unit,” he said. “If we could all be in tiptop shape and play at a certain pace for eight or nine minutes, I think that’s very tough to guard. When you have three or four guys cutting and someone else setting a screen, guys running in and running out, if you can run that at a fast pace, and guys are in shape and ready to do that, it’s very difficult to guard.


“We’re a legit two deep, and sometimes three deep at every position. If we can use that to our advantage by everybody playing at a feverish pace and challenging one another, that could be to our advantage. Let’s use that as our strength.”

Turner expected back

Turner is expected to be available for the team’s first preseason game in the States on Wednesday against the Nets in Brooklyn. He injured his knee in practice last week after rookie guard Terry Rozier landed on his ankle during a post up, bending his leg backward.

“I got some running in [Saturday] and I ran a decent amount [Sunday] and it feels fine,” said Turner. “Nothing really to complain about. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just wear a knee sleeve if it bothers me. But it doesn’t really bother me.”

No excuses, please

Olimpia Milano coach Jasmin Repesa told reporters after his team’s 124-91 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday that had it not been for jet leg his team could have competed better and potentially beaten Boston. Turner did not agree.

“Thank the Lord Milan was jet-lagged when they gave us a gift,” he said. “And then Real Madrid gave us another gift. If we showed up 20 minutes later [to the game] I still think we would have been pretty damn good. And 20 minutes later meaning leaving them in the gym by themselves. I didn’t see any parts [of them competing with us]. None of that.


“I think if we would have brought JY [James Young] and RJ [Hunter], it probably would have been a close game, like 10 points.”

Rozier still hurting

While Johnson and Turner each declared themselves healthy, Rozier isn’t so fortunate. He experienced left knee swelling after Thursday’s win over Real Madrid and will miss 3-5 days, according to Stevens. Rozier played 16 minutes against Real Madrid and scored 14 points. He could miss both preseason games this week against the Nets and Knicks.

Meanwhile, swingman Jonas Jerebko missed practice with a stomach virus. Newcomer Perry Jones, who missed Thursday’s game because of a death in the family, is scheduled to return Monday. Jones, a former first-round pick, is fighting for a roster spot.

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