Boston Celtics rookie Leon Powe has few complaints about his new home.

"It's nice out here, although it's getting cold ... real cold," the 22-year-old Oakland native and former Cal star said. "And a lot of the tricky roads get me lost, but Boston's good."

According to coach Doc Rivers, Powe also was a bit lost in the Celtics' offense early in training camp. But the 6-foot-8 forward solidified his roster spot by totaling 27 points and 25 rebounds in consecutive exhibition games a week ago, and he's excited about the start of the NBA regular season.

"That's when everything starts," Powe said of the club's Wednesday opener at home against the Hornets. "Our journey to the playoffs, our journey to everywhere."

Powe probably won't learn until Monday whether he's part of the 12-man active roster to start the season or relegated to the three-player inactive list.

"I expect to be (in uniform). I know everybody expects to be," he said. "We just have to see."

Powe has at least one vigorous cheerleader in his corner.During Powe's 16-point, nine-rebound, performance against the Knicks eight nights ago, Celtics star Paul Pierce watched with enthusiasm from the bench.

"G-Unit," Pierce called him, referring to the rap group. "Guerilla Unit. Look out, man. He's G-Unit ... Look at him. He's a monster."

Pierce told the Boston Herald Powe surprised people with his performance against the Knicks and with his 11-point, 15-rebound effort vs. the Nets.

"The way he's played, I don't think he's really showed that in training camp," said Pierce, who spent his early years living in Oakland. "He's one of the last big men to get in there and play, and he's making the most of his opportunities in games, and that's when it counts."

Rivers said Powe was slow to pick up things at training camp. "In practice, we see that he has the ability, but he literally couldn't function at times," Rivers said. "There are plays we've gone through where he just froze. Whenever he's not frozen, he plays the way he knows he can."

That apparent difficulty in practice explains why Powe saw just four minutes of action in the Celtics' first four exhibition games. Then things started to click.

"I just need reps going up and down the floor," Powe said. "There's a lot of guys in practice, and I only get a few reps at a time. When I get in the flow, I'm good after that."

His two breakout games provided Powe with a surge of confidence.

"I was getting anxious a little bit. I just wanted to be patient," he said. "It (playing well) was good, just to show people what I can do. I believe in myself."

Rivers seemed almost giddy after Powe's 29-minute performance against the Nets.

"He was phenomenal," Rivers said. "More importantly, he was running the stuff. That's where he's really struggled, just getting the system down. And he did a great job."

Powe also got some good feedback from New York Post columnist Peter Vescey, who wrote: "The following quote by exceptionally enticing Celtic rookie Leon Powe warrants wood-framing in locker rooms throughout the NBA: 'It isn't about what I can do. It's about what Doc (Rivers) and the team need.'"

Powe has been a star his entire basketball life, the focal point of every team for which he's played. He was the Pac-10's top scorer and rebounder last season for Cal.

Early in his pro career, at least, his assignment is different. "Doc told me he wants me to come in and just bring energy off the bench," Powe said. "I think that's probably going to be my role. I just go out there and play."