Celtics bench steps up

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Celtics bench steps up

BOSTON As you scan the Boston Celtics bench, you see Marquis Daniels. Keyon Dooling. Greg Stiemsma. Mickael Pietrus.

All have proven at some point that they can contribute in a meaningful way to the C's success.

But those opportunities have been few and far between.

Friday night was a chance for the C's bench to make a difference.

Did they ever.

For as dominate as Kevin Garnett was around the basket, or how Rajon Rondo continued to do figure 8s around the Heat's defense, it was the Celtics' second unit that surged them to a much-needed 101-91 Game Three win.

"Every guy that came off our bench contributed for our basketball team," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "And we needed it."

The biggest - and probably most unexpected - lift of the night for Boston came from Marquis Daniels, who had nine of the second unit's 19 points on Friday.

Daniels played 17 minutes on Friday.

After having played 22 minutes in a blowout win over Atlanta on May 6, Daniels had only played a total of 10 minutes prior to Friday.

"I just have to stay ready, regardless," Daniels said. "You never know when you're number is going to be called."

Or if a player will be able to answer when the call is made.

While much of the strong bench play can be attributed to Daniels' contributions on both ends of the floor, the Celtics didn't begin to pull away until Keyon Dooling drained a 3-pointer late in the first quarter that cut the Heat lead in half.

That would set into motion an 8-0 Celtics run that gave them a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

"Being home gives you a sense of comfort," Dooling said. "That definitely gave us some extra energy."

Indeed, the Celtics second unit looked and played with a little more pep in their step, coming up with plays at both ends of the floor which is rare for this group.

"Listen, they are not going to put up great numbers offensively, but they know exactly who they are," Rivers said. "They accept that, and they are comfortable with that."

They are a group whose greatest contributions most nights are going to come defensively.

Even with the C's holding their own offensively, much of that success came about because of what they were able to do at the other end of the floor.

"What the second unit did was they came in with a defensive energy that changed the game," Rivers said. "And they scored off the defense. They got stops, they ran the floor I thought it was more from that. And that's who they are."

And while the Celtics would love to bottle the play of the bench, hoping it would spill over into Game Four, these veterans understand that's not likely to happen.

"It's the Eastern Conference finals. There won't be any carry over from this game to the next game," Dooling said. "It's a new game, it's a new day, it will be a new challenge. We have to be up for it."

A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

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A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff. 

 

 

Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

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Gerald Green's injury may give others a shot a Celtics camp

WALTHAM, Mass. – Gerald Green’s hip flexor injury isn’t anything he or the Celtics are overly concerned about.

They know Green as well as any player on this roster, so him missing a couple days will have no effect on his status in their eyes.

But in shutting him down for a couple days, his absence affords a number of players an opportunity to stand up in what is an absolutely pivotal, potentially career-altering season.

James Young is in his third training camp with the Celtics and no one has a real feel for where he fits into the pantheon of NBA players.

He hasn’t played enough to call him a bust, but hasn’t done enough to feel as though he has a bright future in this league either.

And then there’s R.J. Hunter, who came into the NBA with the reputation of being a spot-on shooter.

As a rookie last season, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard struggled knocking down shots when he got playing which for most of the season, was limited.

So, what does that have to do with Green’s injury?

His absence means those two players will get more reps on the floor, providing each with potentially more chances to impress the coaching staff.

It means Young will get a few more shots at showing the added strength, weight and improved skills will enhance his chances to not just make the 15-man roster but also compete for potential minutes.

As for Hunter, he has to make shots.

It’s that simple.

While he showed potential as a rookie to do a number of things on the floor, the easiest way for him to solidify a spot on the roster is to do what he does best which is make baskets.

At the end of the day, one of these guys will not be in a Celtics uniform this season. Between now and then, every opportunity they get to impress the coaches has to be taken advantage of which is exactly what they each will get courtesy of Green’s short-term injury.