Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

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Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

WALTHAM The experimentation for who will be in the Boston Celtics starting lineup will continue on for a little while longer.
But as far as who will close out most games, C's coach Doc Rivers has a pretty good feel for his final five.
"What you want to do is have the right five at the right time," Rivers said following Thursday's practice. "And it's really the right two (players), that's what it comes down to."
Barring injuries or someone having a career-type night, look for Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be on the floor during crunch time on most nights.
And after giving his end-of-game lineup a few more seconds of thought, Rivers conceded that there will likely be just one open slot.
So while it may seem Rivers has his hands full with trying to find the right player combinations, he concedes that, "it's not as difficult as you think" when it comes to deciding who will close out games.
In addition to Rondo, Pierce and Garnett, Rivers said Jeff Green will likely be on the floor in the game's final moments as well.
"It's a lot of options," Rivers said.
Among those options will be Jason Terry, who has made his mark in the NBA as a valuable sixth man. But if needed, he has proven he can be a solid contributor as a starter, too.
While playing with the first unit, the 13-year veteran has career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 assists per game. Coming off the bench, he still delivers a respectable 14.3 points and 3.4 assists.
Terry's approach to the game doesn't change whether he's starting or coming off the bench.
"It's all about having confidence in yourself and knowing your skill set," he said. "I'm able to come off the bench and do what I do because I'm always ready. I'm always ready to score the ball and make an impact on the ball game. As a starter, I was a starter for four years in Atlanta and three in Dallas. So either way it go for me, it doesn't matter. When the lights are on, when the crowd is cheering or when they are going against us, it's when I'm at my best. So it doesn't matter, as long as it's game time."

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

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.”