Davis on Celtics' bench: 'It's coming together'


Davis on Celtics' bench: 'It's coming together'

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics have been searching for the identity of their second unit the entire season.

First it was injuries that prevented that from happening. Then midseason acquisitions forced a slew of new faces to gel with only a few months to go.

With the playoffs starting in less than two weeks, the Celtics have struggled to establish consistency and rhythm with their bench.

On Tuesday night, they found it.

Its coming together like we want it to come together, Glen Davis told CSNNE.com following the Celtics' 99-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It takes time for us to be able to gel and have chemistry the way we want to have it.

Davis, Jeff Green, Delonte West, and Nenad Krstic (who was moved to the bench following the return of Jermaine ONeal) offered a glimpse into the potential of the Celtics second unit.

They combined for 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists while committing just 3 turnovers. Coming into the game, the bench had averaged 26.7 points per game and scored just 15 points in a recent loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

I think were getting together, said Krstic. The first couple games we played together we werent on the same page. But I think the biggest key is were getting used to each other and playing together. I think thats the key for the second unit.

The players noted improved communication and defense. They shared similar reaction after the game, indicative of their cohesiveness on the court.

I knew it was going to take time for us to grasp what Doc Rivers really wanted, but I think now were starting to click and were starting to get what we need out of the second unit as far as defensively, said Green. We gained that trust with one another as far as on the defensive end which led to great offensive possessions."

The bench allowed the Celtics to maintain a lead without having to rely on the starters, whose rest is critical at this point in the season.

The second unit was more cohesive, said Kevin Garnett. I thought the ball movement was very steady. I thought they were aggressive, but they shared the ball. Both the first and second teams talked to each other about just more consistency, and I thought both teams were just that tonight.

After a solid effort on Tuesday night, the Celtics' second unit looks to carry that momentum through the remainder of the regular season and right into the playoffs.

We were just on point tonight, and thats how we need to be in the playoffs, said Davis. We need to stay focused and stay simple, do what we know whats best. Dont do anything out of character. Do what we do.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists


Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists

NEW ORLEANS - Chris Webber and Rollie Massimino are one step from the Hall of Fame.

The career 20-point-per-game NBA scorer and the coach who led Villanova to a stunning upset of Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game were among the 14 finalists unveiled Saturday for this year's Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

Webber played 15 seasons with five franchises, plus was part of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" group that headlined college basketball in the early 1990s.

"I don't know what I'm most proud of," said Webber, who averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in his career and was a five-time NBA All-Star. "I'm proud to be in the room with all these great individuals."

Other first-time Hall of Fame finalists include longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut women's star Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas coach Bill Self, and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

"I still can't believe I'm here," McGrady said. "This is not even a dream come true."

Previous finalists returning to the ballot include star point guard and Olympic gold medalist Tim Hardaway, winningest all-time boys high school coach Robert Hughes, Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, former Wisconsin coach and four-time Division III national champion Bo Ryan and 10-time AAU women's national champion team Wayland Baptist University.

"We are grateful to the 14 finalists in the Class of 2017 for the impact they have had on the game we cherish," Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "To be named a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible accomplishment."

Inductees will be announced at the Final Four on April 3. Enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusetts are scheduled for Sept. 7-9.

Massimino, now an 82-year-old cancer survivor who is still coaching at NAIA school Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a finalist for the first time. His Hall of Fame hopes have been backed by plenty of current and former coaches in recent months - including current Villanova coach Jay Wright, who presented Massimino with a championship ring from the Wildcats' 2016 NCAA title.

"Some days, we do take him for granted," Keiser guard Andrija Sarenac said. "But then you see him on TV so much, you see all these videos made about him, the movies about Villanova and everything, and it just hits you. You realize that he's a legend. I mean, your coach is a walking legend. With the energy and everything he comes in with, it's inspiring."

Finalists need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be enshrined. Among this year's candidates who did not make the finalist group: Muggsy Bogues, Ben Wallace, Kevin Johnson, Maurice Cheeks, Mark Price, Lefty Driesell and Eddie Sutton.

Former New York Times sports writer Harvey Araton and former Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager will be recognized during Hall of Fame weekend as this year's Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

"A tremendous honor," said Sager's wife Stacy.

This year's lifetime achievement award recipients are former UConn coach Donald "Dee" Rowe and Michael Goldberg, who spent nearly four decades as executive director of the NBA Coaches Association. Goldberg died earlier this year.

"He bridged the gap between ownership and coaches," said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, who spoke about Goldberg on Saturday while wearing a bow tie - one of the signature wardrobe accessories that Goldberg donned for years. "He was just such a great guy."

Thomas on Skills Challenge loss: 'I guess it wasn’t the fourth quarter'

Thomas on Skills Challenge loss: 'I guess it wasn’t the fourth quarter'

NEW ORLEANS – Here’s hoping you got a chance to see Boston’s Isaiah Thomas compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday.

Because after yet another defeat, Thomas says he’s calling it quits on the event.

“That’s my last time doing it,” said Thomas who competed in his third Skills Challenge. “I can’t get a win. It’s fun, but it sucks losing. I hate losing no matter what it is.”

And the loss, which came in the semis to Utah’s Gordon Hayward, came about because of Thomas’ inability to knock down a 3-pointer.

“I couldn’t make a shot. I guess it wasn’t the fourth quarter,” quipped Thomas afterwards.

Although each player had their own set of challenges to wade through, Thomas admitted he went on the defensive when both players were trying to move on to the finals with one made 3-pointer.

“I knew he was shooting kind of fast,” Thomas said. “A couple of those shots, I was just trying to hit his ball; I was trying to make sure he didn’t make it.”

Regardless of how the Skills Challenge ended – New York’s Kristaps Porzingis was the winner - it doesn’t take away from what has been a strong start to the season for both Thomas and the Celtics.

But he understands the challenge that awaits him and the Celtics going forward as they try to continue rolling along as one of the top teams in the NBA despite having a roster that has been riddled with injuries this season.

“We’re like a next man … everybody has a next man up mentality,” Thomas said. “We don’t use excuses on why we lose games or why players are out, stuff like that. We don’t think about it when players are out.  When we know somebody’s out, it’s like, ‘OK, next man up. We have to take advantage.’”