WALTHAM It goes without saying that not having Paul Pierce (right heel) in the lineup impacts the Boston Celtics' offense in a negative way.
Nowhere is his absence more noticeable than in the C's lack of 3-point attempts. While the two-game preseason schedule is a small sample, it's a stat that's hard to ignore.
After taking nearly 14 a game last season, the C's launched just seven in each of their preseason games against the Raptors. Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't surprised to see that number significantly trimmed with Pierce not playing in either game.
"When you have Paul and Ray (Allen), the floor is spread," Rivers said. "And the spacing is different. When you have Marquis (Daniels) and Sasha (Pavlovic) and Avery (Bradley), those guys are more slashers. So it's a function of that."
He's right. But don't be surprised to see the C's jack fewer 3s even when Pierce does return.
When you look at this Celtics lineup, it's clear that the bulk of the scoring from the bench is going to most likely come from their frontcourt which will be led by Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass.
Wilcox has a nice touch around the basket, evident by him shooting 57.1 percent from the field in the two preseason games.
Bass had a strong preseason as well, finishing as the team's second-leading scorer in the preseason (10.5 points per game), while also shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
"Brandon has to be a big part of our offense," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "He'll be our best scorer off the bench. Marquis can give us a lot of different things, not just in the scoring category, but just having the ball in his hands is pretty good. On any given night I can get hot, or any given night Chris' energy can show up in the rebound and point column. So it might come from a lot of different places, but we've got to be prepared either way."
Highlights from the Boston Celtics 97-92 win at home against the Sacramento Kings
BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center.
He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant.
And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder.
Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free.
“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.
That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins.
But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs.
“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.”
As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players.
Crowder wasn’t having it.
“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”