Stiemsma tries to stay aggressive, out of foul trouble

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Stiemsma tries to stay aggressive, out of foul trouble

BOSTON -- As the Celtics look ahead to the playoffs, Greg Stiemsma has become a key member of their bench. With Kevin Garnett as the center in a smaller starting lineup following the season-ending wrist injury of Jermaine O'Neal, the 6-11 rookie gives the C's size and defense in their second unit.

Stiemsma has an intense drive to block every shot that comes his way. But in his first year in the NBA, he has learned he has to find the balance between a clean shot and a foul.

He picked up five fouls in 24 minutes during the Celtics 103-79 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. This season he has fouled out of three games, picked up five fouls in five contests, and is averaging over three a game in March and April as his role increases.

Thats my job, said Stiemsma. It usually happens in the late part of my minutes and I know Im coming out. If I get my sixth foul, Im at least going to try to make it worth it.

Stiemsma has studied game film to analyze his foul troubles. While he doesnt see a specific trend, he has put in extra work on his timing.

"Maybe if I get to look for a block too late, then I sometimes tend to come down a little bit," he said. But I dont know. Even sometimes I still try to jump straight up or jump backwards so Im not the one creating contact, so Ive got to do a better job of that.

With a lack of practice time this season, Stiemsma has been visually learning from the bench. He has paid close attention to Kevin Garnett and his defensive moves.

Im trying to be as much like Kevin as I can, he said. Hes in the right spots all the time. His defensive positioning is right all the time, so if I can get to that level, its going to be tough to not have me on the floor.

With a combination of his experience and learning from those of his teammates, Stiemsma hopes to continue being an effective shot blocker.

Im going to keep playing, Stiemsma said. Im not going to change my style of game. Ill obviously try to be a little bit smarter about it, but at times, too, I dont know what I could do differently to not put myself in that situation.

Thank God they give you six instead of four or five (laughs).

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics take a slim 47-46 lead into the half over Sacramento, a team they have dominated at the TD Garden. 

The Celtics are looking to extend their winning streak at home over the Kings to nine in a row with a victory tonight. 

But the Kings are not going to go down easily, as they rallied back from a 13-point deficit in the first quarter. 

After Boston went ahead 29-19, the Kings scored the final 10 points of the quarter to tie it at 29. 

Sacramento took a couple of brief leads in the second, only for the Celtics to get a clutch shot or a timely stop defensively. 

The final points of the half came on a put-back basket by Al Horford which gave Boston a one-point lead that would serve as the margin going into the half. 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Friday’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

After taking just five shots in Wednesday’s loss to Detroit, Horford had as many in the first six minutes. He would finish the half with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included a pair of three-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins

He had a horrible first half shooting the ball, but there was no denying Cousins’ presence and impact on the game. Despite missing six of his nine shot attempts he still led them with nine points and five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Avery Bradley

He looked a lot more like the Avery Bradley we’ve seen most of this season, and not the one who was a non-factor for most of Wednesday’s loss to Detroit. At the half he had nine points and four rebounds.

Matt Barnes

The oldest player on the floor certainly didn’t look past his prime. The 36-year-old small forward came off the Kings bench to score six points along with grabbing eight rebounds. 

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

A 19.6 points per game scorer this season, Gay couldn’t get into any kind of flow or rhythm offensively. At the half, he had four points on 2-for-8 shooting which included him missing all four of his three-pointers.

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.”