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

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet


Minutes after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, the folks at Bleacher Report tweeted a video that celebrated the C’s one victory in the series. 

Ouch. 

There are 17 Celtics championship banners that actually exist and hang at TD Garden. You won’t be seeing one for being a “finalist” or celebrating an actual sweep, such as Spurs over Cavs in the NBA Finals.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.

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Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."