Celtics hoping to make most of extra time off

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Celtics hoping to make most of extra time off

WALTHAM The Celtics will have a few days off before they take to the floor again. Good thing for a veteran team, right?

Not exactly.

The benefits for players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry -- all were given the day off from practice on Monday by Doc Rivers -- goes without saying. But when it comes to winning games, that's a different story.

Boston doesn't play again until Wednesday when it hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves, the fifth time this season in which the Celtics will have two or more days off before playing.

In the previous four games, the C's are just 1-3.

And that lone victory came over the Washington Wizards on Nov. 7, a team that did not win its first game of the season until Nov. 28 against Portland.

Still, the potential upside of having more practice time still outweighs the struggles the C's have had in the past with a longer-than-usual layoff.

"It's always nice when you're over 30 to get rest," said veteran Jason Collins. "But we're still continuing to work hard each and every day."

Added Courtney Lee: "It's definitely good to have days off. We can get in here and work on some things."

Among the areas in need of improvement is the Celtics' pick-and-roll defense which was among the areas covered in practice on Monday which was run by C's assistant Armond Hill.

"We're getting better," Hill said. "You can see guys are reacting more, reacting quicker to what their responsibilities are."

Hill said Rivers has expressed many times how the "four (power forward) and five (center) are together, and the smalls have to be in the help position to give the stunt, to get back and play one-on-one."

The Celtics' loss at Milwaukee was indicative of the kind of progress that the C's are making.

They're improving, but clearly not as much as they need or want to.

With that said, having a few more days to work on things and better prepare for their next opponent is a situation the C's have embraced as they look to get on track after a lackluster 9-8 start this season.

"We know it's a long season, and we have a long way to go," Lee said. "We're getting better as a team and we know we'll turn that around and you'll see us going on eight-game winning streaks. So we're definitely not focused on the record. Our main focus is just getting better and continue to work on things that Doc puts in."

Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen

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Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen

NEW YORK -- If Drew Pomeranz is going to be part of the Red Sox' postseason plans, the team will likely have a better idea about that question by Thursday afternoon.

Pomeranz, who was scratched from his final scheduled start on Thursday because of soreness in his left forearm and general concern about his 2016 workload, will throw a 30-35 pitch bullpen.

If he responds well, he could then see some relief action over the final weekend at Fenway to determine his readiness for the playoffs.

"Before we even begin to map out a potential relief appearance over the weekend,'' said John Farrell, "we've got to get through that next step.''

Pomeranz pitched well in his last start at Tropicana Field over the weekend, but has been dealing with some discomfort in his forearm.

"I've had some soreness here, late in the year,'' Pomeranz said. "I've thrown more innings than I have ever (before), so we kind of sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way.''

Pomeranz described what he felt as "just some soreness, probably from never covering this time of the year. It's a spot I've never been in before. We just decided the best thing to do was not making this last start and talk about maybe sliding into the bullpen.''

The lefty is no stranger to the bullpen, having pitched there as recently as last season while with Oakland.

"I've had the benefit of doing pretty much everything (in terms of roles),'' he said. "I'm pretty comfortable in any situation. If they see me helping there, obviously, that's where I want to be. But I don't know if it's a sure thing. We'll have to see how it goes.''

Meanwhile, another sidelined starter, Steven Wright, is expected to rejoin the team in Boston Friday. Wright threw a bullpen off the mound earlier this week in Fort Myers as he attempts to come back from inflammation in his shoulder.