Rivers will look at bench to help Pierce, Garnett after marathon game

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Rivers will look at bench to help Pierce, Garnett after marathon game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Less than 24 hours after a thrilling triple-overtime win over Denver, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has no plans to change up his starting lineup for tonight's game against Charlotte.

But it's worth keeping an eye on how Rivers handles the minutes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who played 54 and 47 minutes, respectively.

"We'd like to limit their minutes in the first half as much as possible, but it is what it is," Rivers said.

For Pierce, the 54 minutes on Sunday was the most he played since he dropped 50 points on the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 15, 2006.

As for Garnett, it was the most minutes he played as a Celtic and the most he played overall since logging 51 against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2007 when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Having logged so many minutes, it goes without saying that a Celtics victory will likely involve someone stepping up not named Garnett or Pierce.

"That's every night," Boston's Courtney Lee told CSNNE.com. "It may be some nights someone else might carry the load. But last night, they did for a large amount of time. For sure those guys are probably going to be a little fatigued. Everybody else has to step up and continue to do the things that we've been doing."

Rivers said he will look to his bench more tonight, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Boston's second unit has outscored its backup brethren in each of the C's last seven games - all Boston wins - by an average of 12.8 points per game.

"We're playing 10-deep, sometimes 11 on some nights," Rivers said. "It's just who we are. Everybody understands that, everybody knows. It makes them more comfortable."

And the Celtics are a much tougher team to beat, regardless of how many minutes their core veterans have logged.

With so many different players contributing, the minutes are not going to be consistent night-in and night-out for players.

For example, Lee played just 23 minutes in Sunday's win - the fewest minutes among the starters - while Jason Terry came off the bench and logged a season-high 43 minutes which contributed heavily to his season-high 26 points.

"I didn't have it rolling," said Lee, who had two points while missing four of his five shot attempts against the Nuggets on Sunday. "Doc saw that, made a great sub with J.T. (Terry). It was his night. He had it going, along with Paul and KG. So any given night, it might be someone else's turn. That's what makes us such a great team and why we've been so successful lately. We just have to keep doing what we're doing, keep this winning streak alive."

Stevens’ first practice observation: ‘We’re going to be able to fly around’

Stevens’ first practice observation: ‘We’re going to be able to fly around’

WALTHAM, Mass. –  Before the Celtics fully stretched prior to their first practice of the season, coach Brad Stevens had his players go 5-on-5 in a not-live breakdown while going at about 30 percent full speed or similar to what they would do in a walk-through.

“If that was 30 percent, we’re going to be able to fly around,” said Stevens. “I think it was just a misjudging of what 30 percent is. They were flying early on in practice. We have to be able to fully rotate, we have to guard different positions, you gotta be able to read the game instinctively and obviously there’s an athletic component that allows you to do so effectively.”

Regardless, the Celtics are a team that will rely more on their athleticism in past seasons in order to be effective and live up to the lofty expectations so many have for them this season.

“We have a real good team, real athletic at a lot of spots,” Celtics forward Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “We definitely got a couple more high-flyers in the building this year.”

He’s speaking about Gerald Green, a former Slam Dunk champion, and Jaylen Brown, who is considered one of the more athletic players among this year’s rookie class.

And that athleticism was indeed on display in the early moments of the team’s first practice of the season.

But what makes the Celtics a team that could potentially be a major player in the East, is that the increased athleticism is now married to a team whose skill level is underrated.

Talent and athleticism is certainly a bonus for any team.

But the Celtics know the road to being among the game’s elite is long and winding, a journey that they are just beginning to embark on right now.

And while there are plenty of directions that Stevens can put a greater focus on in these early days, it doesn’t appear the Celtics' leader will go that route.

“We’ve got a lot being installed,” Stevens said. “We’ll keep the emphasis on being a blue-collar team and playing together.”

 

 

 

Brad Stevens podcast: 'Only goal around here is a championship'

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Brad Stevens podcast: 'Only goal around here is a championship'

Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talk with Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens at Celtics Media Day about raised expectations for the upcoming season, how Al Horford will fit, can Isaiah Thomas build off an All-Star season, and how high are his goals. 

Plus, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss whether or not some critiscism could come Stevens' way if the Celtics doesn't perform well in the playoffs.

MORE PODCAST Isaiah Thomas: ‘Just getting to the playoffs in Boston isn’t good enough’

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