Boston Celtics

Despite off-night, C's still confident in reserves

191544.jpg

Despite off-night, C's still confident in reserves

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Boston Celtics came into the season believing their strength is in their numbers.

As impressive as their starting unit may be, the C's were just as confident in their second unit.

When the C's went to the bench, there would be no scoring lull, not with guys like Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis as reserves.

But then came a few injuries.

That was followed by a few more.

Before you knew it, the Celtics' second unit looked like, well, a second unit.

Just as the injuries have forced the Celtics' starters to transform their play to some degree, the same can be said for the team's second unit.

Getting points from them would be nice, but no longer is it an necessity.

"If we're not getting shots to fall on offense, we have to provide energy and good defense," Celtics forward Luke Harangody told CSNNE.com.

That wasn't necessarily what happened in the first half of Friday's 99-94 win over Charlotte.

Boston went into the half tied at 42, with the second unit going scoreless while collectively missing all eight of their shots from the field. For the game, Boston's backups finished with nine points, five assists and six rebounds while missing 12 of their 15 shots from the field.

The starters re-established Boston's control in the third quarter, and the second unit players essentially maintained it.

Rivers had a conversation with his team in the third quarter reminding them about the importance of getting stops defensively, regardless of how good or bad things are going offensively.

"We've got a lot of guys with offensive minds on the second unit," Rivers said. "And if they're' not making shots, then all of a sudden they can't defend anymore because mentally they're still down on the offensive end. That's what we just keep working with them at; they're getting better at it."

No one disputes that the Celtics' reserves didn't have their best game offensively.

But that won't have any bearing on the Celtics' view of their second unit.

"There's going to be nights when they carry us, and vice-versa," said Rajon Rondo, who had 18 points, 13 assists and six rebounds. "We got the win. It doesn't matter if they scored or not. They did a great job defensively. They didn't give up a big lead or anything, so it was cool."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

boston-celtics-isaiah-thomas-wizards-2-51317.jpg

Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

MORE CELTICS:

"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

CSNNE SCHEDULE