Celtics Question of the Day: Which big men will get the most time off the bench?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Which big men will get the most time off the bench?

For all that has gone well for the Boston Celtics in recent years, rebounding has been a constant issue. The C's have been either the worst or second-worst rebounding team each of the last three seasons.

Shaquille O'Neal. Jermaine O'Neal. Rasheed Wallace. No matter who the C's trotted in to bolster their frontline, nothing has worked rebounding-wise with any level of consistency.

Will this season be any different?

The Celtics certainly hope so with the additions to their lineup that will enter training camp vying for a spot in the team's big man rotation. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass will be Boston's starting center and power forward, respectively. So in terms of bigs who will play, we know they're in.

Beyond that it gets pretty interesting.

During the regular season, C's coach Doc Rivers will likely go 10-deep most nights. Even if Boston plays a lot more small-ball lineups, you can count on the Celtics using at least two big men off the bench.

All indications are that rookie Jared Sullinger will be in the rotation at both power forward and at times, center.

That leaves Chris Wilcox, Fab Melo and Jason Collins vying for what may be one spot in the C's regular big man rotation. Of that trio, look for Wilcox to win out at the start of the season.

His experience, familiarity with what head coach Doc Rivers expects and his overall talent, will give him a decisive edge over Melo initially.

But there will come a time when Melo's shot-blocking prowess will help the C's win a game or two. That will pave the way for the rookie to showcase other parts of his game that will likely cut into Wilcox's role.

As for Collins, it's unlikely he'll see much playing time this season.

His experience and defense-first mentality make him an ideal "situational" player who may see his role expanded against players like Andrew Bynum of Philadelphia or Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.