Second unit keeping Celtics in the hunt

Second unit keeping Celtics in the hunt
March 28, 2014, 10:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics' bench gave them a chance at victory against the Toronto Raptors.

While both games ended in defeat for the Celtics, that doesn't diminish the fact that Boston's backups are having a significant impact on games lately.

In Friday's 105-103 loss at Toronto, the Celtics' bench outscored the Raptor's second unit, 49-28.

And in Wednesday's 99-90 loss to the Raptors, Boston's backups were even more dominant by outscoring Toronto's reserves 51-7.

"Those guys play hard," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, referring to his bench. "They play hard and they make mistakes. The young guys make mistakes. But they're not errors of effort. And so they're doing everything they possibly can to get back in the game."

The focus of Boston's backups when they enter games, is pretty consistent from one game to another.

"We just want to come in, play as hard as we can, pick up the tempo," said Kelly Olynyk who had 10 points and two rebounds on Friday. "If we're down, we're trying to bring it back closer. If we're up, we're trying to extend the lead; just trying to give the starters a better opportunity."

And they are doing a better job of it lately.

But as we have seen this season, the tables could quickly turn where the starters get it going and the bench begins to slump.

"We have to play better throughout the game," said Jerryd Bayless who led all Celtics with 20 points off the bench. "There are times we play well, and times we struggle. We just have to have a more consistent effort, with everybody."