Davis takes responsibility for second unit's play


Davis takes responsibility for second unit's play

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - Glen Davis has been on the Boston Celtics long enough to understand what it takes to play championship-caliber basketball. On Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, he didnt see that.

I think we need a lot of things, he said following the Celtics' 90-87 loss. We need a lot of things in order to get to a championship level that we need to play. I dont think we played the way we should have played today.

Davis looked at the productivity of the second unit. Then he took a look at himself. The Celtics had lost just by three points and he believed the bench could have done more to contribute to a win. He wanted to see better execution. He wanted to see greater intensity. He just wanted to see more.

With the season winding down and the Celtics fighting for home court advantage (their loss put them one game behind the Chicago Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference), Davis is putting the weight on his shoulders to lead the second unit.

I need to take a better initiative myself, he said. Me being one of the leaders on the second group, being the guy that plays the most on the second group, I need to be more of a leader to organize and to make sure that we know what were doing out there and just to make sure we have a collective effort on the defensive side.

Davis recognizes the obstacles the Celtics face, but at this point in the year, he isnt looking for excuses. The learning curve of the new players, the lack of depth because of injuries, the taxing effect of increased minutes -- they all add up to road blocks that must be overcome.

And Davis is determined to help the second unit get past them.

We have to make sure that we know what were running out there, he said. Sometimes I feel like we dont know what were running. We need to go our guys that we go to - like Delonte West, Jeff Green. I think with Von Wafer back, it gives us another scoring opportunity out there. I think we need to get more ball movement. I think we have options with Jeff Green in the post, but at the same time, I think we need more ball movement. And we need to find it somewhere.

While the Celtics bench added 29 points between Davis, Green, and West, Davis is looking for more than just offense. The reserves at several points this season have faltered on defense when their shots havent fallen, and the Celtics cant afford that lapse of focus. The Grizzlies bench scored 38 points.

If we dont do nothing else, we have to play defense. We have to play defense, Davis said of the second unit. I dont care if we dont make a shot in the second team. I dont care if we dont get a layup or anything. We need to play defense. The second team needs to play defense and its my fault. Im the most experienced guy on the second team, and I need to bring that intensity to those guys. Can't look backwards, got to look forward, and Im looking forward to practice tomorrow, making sure that we know what were supposed to do.

Davis plans to review game tape and talk to the second unit on Thursday. They will get help when Wafer, and Jermaine and Shaquille ONeal, return from injuries, but they cant wait around for that to happen. They have to find their rhythm with the players they have now.

Every game means a lot to us right now, Davis said. Were trying to get as many wins as possible to finish out the year strong. We want to achieve one of our goals and thats winning the Eastern Conference and having home-court advantage. Right now, were losing games and were losing time. So weve got to get it together as soon as possible.

While taking a leadership role on the Celtics may be new to Davis, the winning mentality isnt. He has been inspired by his veteran teammates and looks to motivate the second unit the same way the starters have motivated him.

Its new to me, but at the same time, if I want to go to the next level and have my own team one day, Im going to have to start somewhere, he said. Im going to take initiative now and take ownership.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

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Celtics-Bucks preview: C's preferred starting five making an impact

Celtics-Bucks preview: C's preferred starting five making an impact

BOSTON – It took Brad Stevens about eight minutes to realize his starters worked well together.

That’s how long they were on the floor to start Boston’s first preseason game back in October, opening the season with a 23-9 run against Philadelphia.

Now the rest of the NBA basketball world is starting to take notice with the Celtics (48-26) holding down the best record in the Eastern Conference with a chance to add to that tonight against the hard-charging Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks (38-36), coming off a 118-108 win at Charlotte on Tuesday, have won 12 of their last 15 games.

Boston is well aware that Milwaukee is playing some of its best basketball at the moment, led by all-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

For the Celtics, that doesn’t matter.

Regardless of where they are in the Eastern Conference pecking order or who they play, the number one priority for them at this point is to continue playing good basketball.

“Every team in the NBA should want to be the best team in the NBA,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “We’re showing that we can be if we’re playing the right kind of basketball. That’s an accomplishment, to be first in the east. We understand that. But at the same time, we understand we could lose it (tonight against Milwaukee). We have to worry about (tonight’s) game and everything will take care of itself.”

Especially if Boston’s preferred starting five – Isaiah Thomas; Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson – are playing together.

Although they have only played 31 games together this season, they have reeled off an impressive 24-7 record which puts them among the best starting fives in the NBA this season.

“They really have complimented each other well,” Stevens said. “But you could see it. I remember the first exhibition game (against Philadelphia), we could all see it. Before that, the second unit had given them fits a little bit, the first couple of weeks of practice. But that subsided and I thought our guys, that starting unit has been pretty good.”

And it’s not just what they do during games, either.

Setting the tone in all phases of the game, on and off the court, is vital to both the success of the starting unit and the team as a whole.

“That’s part of it; part of us being leaders on the team,” Bradley said. “We have to bring it every single day. Shoot-around, being focused, film sessions. It’s our job to try to help the bench players focus just as much as we are. We’re a team. We all have to hold each other accountable. I feel like we’re doing a great job.”

But ultimately, every team and every unit within that team is judged on how their works contribute to winning.

And when it comes to the Celtics’ starting five, there’s little argument that they get the job done better than most of the NBA’s starting units.

So when asked why they have been so successful this season, Thomas delivered a straight-no-chaser response.

“Because we’re good; like we’re really good,” Thomas said. “That’s why it’s been so successful. When we are healthy, we know how to play with each other and guys are unselfish and know their roles. We have a really good starting lineup and when healthy, we play at a really high level. We have to continue to do that and end this season on a good note.”