Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

912593.jpg

Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

WALTHAM The experimentation for who will be in the Boston Celtics starting lineup will continue on for a little while longer.
But as far as who will close out most games, C's coach Doc Rivers has a pretty good feel for his final five.
"What you want to do is have the right five at the right time," Rivers said following Thursday's practice. "And it's really the right two (players), that's what it comes down to."
Barring injuries or someone having a career-type night, look for Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be on the floor during crunch time on most nights.
And after giving his end-of-game lineup a few more seconds of thought, Rivers conceded that there will likely be just one open slot.
So while it may seem Rivers has his hands full with trying to find the right player combinations, he concedes that, "it's not as difficult as you think" when it comes to deciding who will close out games.
In addition to Rondo, Pierce and Garnett, Rivers said Jeff Green will likely be on the floor in the game's final moments as well.
"It's a lot of options," Rivers said.
Among those options will be Jason Terry, who has made his mark in the NBA as a valuable sixth man. But if needed, he has proven he can be a solid contributor as a starter, too.
While playing with the first unit, the 13-year veteran has career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 assists per game. Coming off the bench, he still delivers a respectable 14.3 points and 3.4 assists.
Terry's approach to the game doesn't change whether he's starting or coming off the bench.
"It's all about having confidence in yourself and knowing your skill set," he said. "I'm able to come off the bench and do what I do because I'm always ready. I'm always ready to score the ball and make an impact on the ball game. As a starter, I was a starter for four years in Atlanta and three in Dallas. So either way it go for me, it doesn't matter. When the lights are on, when the crowd is cheering or when they are going against us, it's when I'm at my best. So it doesn't matter, as long as it's game time."

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.

MORE CELTICS

 
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."