Guards get in same groove for Celtics

Guards get in same groove for Celtics
October 12, 2013, 10:15 pm
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MANCHESTER, N.H. —  In the third quarter, Jordan Crawford drained a 3-pointer.

On the ensuing Boston Celtics possession, he launched a pass the length of the court to Avery Bradley who gathered the pass, recognized he had a matchup and attacked the basket for a lay-up.

It was the kind of sequence that Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has implored his guards to do more of.

And to their credit, they took heed to Stevens' request which set the tone for a relatively comfortable fifty-two kazillion to 81 win over the New York Knicks - Ok, it was actually 111-81 but it certainly felt a lot more lopsided than that.

Crawford had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Bradley also had 13 points to go with two assists. Even more telling was their plus-minus ratios of plus-18 and plus-23, respectively.

Both are being called upon to play at the point guard position with Rajon Rondo (torn right ACL) out indefinitely.

But in doing so, both - at least until Saturday - seemed more preoccupied with setting up teammates rather than doing what they do best which is score the ball.

"One of the things they both need to do for us, is score," Stevens said prior to the victory. "They both can't have a mindset of pass-first, get everybody else involved and they both understand that."

Both seemed to go back and forth as far as who would be the primary facilitator which in a sense makes the Celtics a tougher team to play.

As much as the victory served as a feel-good moment for Boston, it has to be put in perspective..

It came about with New York resting several of its core players, like Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

That said, the preseason is mostly about figuring out combinations that can be successful in a live game situation.

And there's no question that as Stevens continues to tinker with different lineups and combinations to play, the Bradley-Crawford backcourt is one that figures to be one he will turn to often as the season progresses.