Lee re-discovers his championship-caliber defense


Lee re-discovers his championship-caliber defense

BOSTON - Courtney Lee had a breakout game offensively Thursday night in Brooklyn with 18 points.

But it was his defense that literally stole the show in Boston's blowout win.

For all that the C's did well defensively against the Nets, no one seemed to benefit more than Lee who began the game with the first of his game-high four steals which led to a dunk.

Even more impressive was the defensive job he did on Joe Johnson which was among the keys to Boston playing with a lead the entire night.

Johnson had 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting which included him missing eight of his nine shots in the first half with Lee being the primary defender on him most of the time.

"I'm just a competitor," Lee told Comcast SportsNet. "I like that. He (Johnson) is an All-Star player. So what better player to go up against to test your defense than an All-Star player?"

Celtics coach Doc Rivers sees Lee returning to the better-than-average form he displayed earlier in his career with Orlando.

"Courtney was the best defender on the floor," Rivers said. "He does a lot of tough things."

And he goes about it in a quiet, unassuming manner. But don't let the soft spoken demeanor fool you.

"He doesn't say too much, but he's competitive, man," said Paul Pierce. "He doesn't care who you are. He's always confident in his defense and we are, too."

Added Rivers: "Courtney's important for us. We want a defensive unit to start games."

And that likely means Lee will be in the starting lineup at shooting guard instead of Jason Terry.

"Start, come off the bench. It doesn't matter to me," Lee said. "We have enough talent that there's really no let-off in whoever is out there. Me, JT (Jason Terry), we both can impact games."

Terry, a former Sixth man of the year award winner (2009), is known for his clutch, long-range shooting.

Meanwhile, Lee is laying the groundwork to establish himself as a top flight defender. Rivers isn't surprised to see Lee perform at a high level defensively.

"We thought he was (a good defender)," Rivers said. "He was in Orlando."

Lee's rookie season with the Magic ended with a trip to the NBA Finals, the only team he has played with that was a legit title contender.

And it's not a coincidence that his defense since then hasn't stood out as much ... until now.

"The last winning team he was on, yes, he was a heck of a defender," Rivers said. "And now he's getting that back again which is good."

Celtics roster at 17 after waiving Georges-Hunt, Lee and Jones


Celtics roster at 17 after waiving Georges-Hunt, Lee and Jones

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made their first player cuts of training camp by waiving Marcus Georges-Hunt, Damion Lee and Jalen Jones on Thursday.

The Celtics roster now stands at 17, two more than the league-maximum which Boston has to get down to by Monday at 5 p.m. EST

Ben Bentil, who was selected by Boston with the No. 51 pick in last June’s NBA draft out of Providence College, is expected to be the next player waived by Boston.

That would still leave the Celtics needing to waive at least one more player.

The final spot is expected to come down to R.J. Hunter and James Young, both of whom have been solid in the preseason which has made this one of the tougher roster decisions the Celtics have had to make under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens.