Can Williams help the Celtics?

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Can Williams help the Celtics?

I'm willing to bet that Sean Williams gets a little run tonight when the Celtics tip off in Atlanta, if for no other reason than because the C's don't have anyone else.

Paul Pierce. Kevin Garnett. Rajon Rondo. Ray Allen. Mickael Pietrus.

They're all staying in Boston. So, unless Doc Rivers feels like dusting off his old sneakers and a vintage pair of short-shorts, he's going to have to play everyone.

But here's the question: Can Williams help Boston in the playoffs?

Obviously, my instincts say no. First of all, because regardless of any raw skills that he may possess, there's a reason he was available. There's a reason he didn't last with the Nets, or with Fujian Xunxing in China, or with Mets de Guaynabo in Puerto Rico, or with Maccabi Haifa in Israel, or with the Mavericks. He can't get out of his own way.

Throw in the fact that Doc is already pretty set with his playoff rotation, and has never really been known to roll the dice with an inexperienced player unless he absolutely has to, and it's fair assume that Sean Williams' playoff contributions will be few and far between.

But I'll say this: With a guy like Williams, you always have to wonder. After all, it's never been a matter of talent. It's all in his head. And sometimes in situations like that, all it takes is finding the perfect situation. And considering the foundation and leadership that's in place with the Celtics you never know.

Hey, look at Gerald Green down in Jersey, finally figuring it out, FINALLY finding a place in this league. Sure it's a lot easier working your way into the Nets rotation than surging Celtics, but there's certainly some opportunity for Williams here in Boston. The Celtics front court is no deeper than your average kiddie pool. And Danny Ainge obviously thinks that Williams still has something to offer. Otherwise, why bring him on? Certainly not for his presence in the locker room.

So, will this be the time that opportunity knocks, and Williams actually answers the door?

Let's hope so.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Rask given maintenance day as Bruins return to practice

Rask given maintenance day as Bruins return to practice

BRIGHTON -- The Bruns got back to work on Friday, but were without their No. 1 goaltender for practice at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of their biggest game of the season Saturday night against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center 

Tuukka Rask was given a maintenance day after playing three games in four days, and Matt Beleskey was also missing “on family leave." The off-day for Rask could have very well about getting away from the rink mentally as it was physically; he has a 3-6-0 record during the month of March. 

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy said after practice that he wouldn’t be making a decision on his starting goalie in Brooklyn until Saturday, but it would be stunning if Rask didn't play.

“We’ll see how things clear up . . . and see where we’re at,” said Cassidy of any Bruins lineup changes against the Isles. “We’ll know by then. [The starting goalie] will be determined tomorrow. I don’t want to get out in front of it, to be honest with you.”

Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Friday’s practice, with Cassidy uncertain of any changes he might make between now and Saturday night: 
 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes
Stafford-Krejci-Backes
Vatrano-Spooner-Hayes
Moore-Nash-Acciari
 
Chara-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid
C. Miller-K. Miller

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem for Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem for Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”