Celtics finding consistency with depth

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Celtics finding consistency with depth

The Celtics three leading scorers in last night's win over Phoenix were all reserves. While only one starter (Kevin Garnett) had a plusminus in the positive range, five bench players joined him in the club. Jared Sullinger led everyone at 24, Jason Terry was 19, Jeff Green was 16 and Courtney Lee was 12.

Basically, last night was a glimpse into the reserve unit that everyone envisioned coming into this season. Only without Darko. Sweet, sweet Darko.

Anyway, after the game, Kevin Garnett was asked about the bench's performance, and stopped short of dropping too much praise. At the very least, he wasn't ready to deem them a finished product.

I dont know, you know," he said. "But theyre definitely starting to make some noise."

But it's what he said next that I found most telling: "I think Docs starting to understand the rotation hes going with, and I think the rotation we are going with," KG said. "Hes confident in it, and everybody kind of knows their niche right now.

And there it is. For the last month or so we've begged for this team to find some consistency. For Doc to finally figure out his rotations and put this roster in the best position to succeed. Until recently, it wasn't easy. In large part, due to Avery Bradley's injury, but also because the new additions like Terry, Green and Lee were so consistently out of sorts. But now, with Bradley back, and Brandon Bass in the starting line-up, everything is falling into place. Is it that Doc finally figured it out? Or that the team just finally woke up?

It's probably a combination. But either way, the result is fantastic for the Celtics. In the NBA, you need every players to be confidentcomfortable with his own identity before you can achieve anything on the team level. And if nothing else, this roster starters and reserves have started to figure out who they are as individuals, and as a result, they're coming together as one. In the words of KG: "They're definitely starting to make some noise."

Just in time for Danny to pull off a trade? Yeah, maybe. But for now, at least the weeks andor months until he pulls the trigger will be a lot more productive.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
 
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
 
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
 
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
 
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
 
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
 
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
 
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup