WALTHAM In Boston's last two games, we have seen both the promise -- and problems -- that come about when you have a bench like the Boston Celtics.
As you go through the roster, you won't find a single player that you can turn to and know you'll get major production every night. But collectively, they do more than enough good things to validate their use.
We saw just how big a difference they can make, with their play in Sunday's win over Washington being one of the keys to Boston's 12-point win.
Because they don't have that one guy off the bench who delivers steady, consistent production, there will be nights when the group as a whole doesn't play well and no one player has the type of game to change that.
Their play had little to do with Boston's seven-point win at Charlotte the following night.
"That's what's so great about back-to-backs when your bench plays well," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "If they just play well in one of the two (games), you're good."
Despite their record which is currently the seventh-best in the East, the Celtics' goals of going deep into the playoffs have not changed.
This isn't like four or five years ago when the C's starting five was so much better than the opposing team that there was no great need for a deep and talented bench.
"Bench is key," said Brandon Bass, who began the season coming off the bench but is now a full-time starter. "If you want to be successful in this league, you need to have a strong bench that'll come through. You need them."
And like the C's as a whole, the bench understands a big part of their success will be on their ability to play more consistently.
"Just getting the chemistry out there . . . we're just trying to keep building our chemistry," said Celtics reserve Marquis Daniels.
Developing that chemistry is challenged somewhat when you have a slew of injuries and illnesses to starters. That forces players who normally come off the bench into roles with the first unit.
"We're all professionals," Daniels said. "They know when they come in, it doesn't really change much. If you're in with the starters, you're doing more of a role, and with the second group you're doing more of your role. It's not much of a difference. They're all professionals. They do a good job."