Pavlovic paying big dividends

Pavlovic paying big dividends
April 8, 2012, 3:32 am
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INDIANAPOLIS If you get to whatever arena the Boston Celtics are playing in early enough, you'll see first-hand the shooting clinic that Sasha Pavlovic puts on.

Before most games he's matched up against Avery Bradley, the C's best on-the-ball defender.

Those pre-game battles seem to be paying off nicely for both players, although Bradley's progress has been the one to garner most of the attention.

But in Saturday's 86-72 win over Indiana, Pavlovic's play was among the many reasons why the Celtics (31-24) snapped a two-game losing streak in addition to extending their lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, to two games.

Pavlovic played just over 14 minutes, but they were 14 highly productive minutes - especially in the first half.

That is when he scored all eight of his points off the bench, including a buzzer-beating jumper to end the first quarter.

"Every time Sasha gets in the game, he makes big plays," Bradley said. I tell him, we all try to keep his confidence up Sasha can shoot the ball. He always goes away from his (3-point shot) if he misses, but in this game he was confident and it showed. He made shots."

Especially in the second quarter, which is when the C's surged ahead by as many as 17 points with the bulk of the run coming with Pavlovic in the game.

"I was just ready to play," Pavlovic said. "I was executing the plays, and playing as hard as I can defensively. It was a good stretch for us."

With Mickael Pietrus (concussion) still out, C's coach Doc Rivers will likely turn to Pavlovic more often to spell Paul Pierce at the small forward position.

"We all have to be ready from the bench, every game," Pavlovic said. "It's a tough season; a lot of back-to-backs. Guys are going to need rest. We have to be ready."

And Pavlovic was indeed prepared to contribute not only as a scorer, but also with his defense on Danny Granger who had 20 points on 6-for-15 shooting.

"I just get out there and play as hard as I can," Pavlovic said. "That's all I'm thinking about."

And while it was his offense that caught the attention of many, he's quick to add that it is his play defensively that usually gets his offensive game on track.

"That's how I prepare myself," he said. "I play as hard as I can defensively. The offense is going to come."

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