Celtics offense struggles without Garnett, Bass

630440.jpg

Celtics offense struggles without Garnett, Bass

DALLAS Not having Rajon Rondo available is certainly a blow to the Boston Celtics' chances of winning.

But not having Kevin Garnett or Brandon Bass?

Huge!

Monday's 89-73 loss to Dallas was yet another reminder of just how not having either one of those players available makes things a lot tougher for the Celtics when it comes to scoring.

Garnett has missed the Celtic's last two games while attending to what teammate Paul Pierce referred to as, "a family matter." And Bass is out with a left knee injury that will keep him off the court until some time after the all-star break.

Conventional wisdom dictates without Garnett and Bass, that just means more shots for Pierce and Ray Allen, right?

Not exactly.

Because both Garnett and Bass fall under the umbrella of being power forwards who can "stretch" the floor with their long-range shooting, their absence has made it easier for teams to defend Pierce and Allen.

"You could see it (Sunday night at Detroit)," Rivers said.

Just about every time either Pierce or Allen had the ball in their hands, at least two Pistons defenders were waiting or were close by.

That strategy employed by Detroit, was back on Monday night being implemented by Dallas.

"Our identity this year is that we're a defensive team," said Mavs coach and former Celtics player, Rick Carlisle.

But even Carlisle recognizes that the short-handed nature of the C's roster now, was indeed a factor that helped his team win.

"Their team was depleted to a great extent, so that's a mitigating circumstance," Carlisle acknowledged. "I understand that. But the other guys they threw out there were hard-playing guys and they played well. We had to play to win."

And that play included making sure that Allen and Pierce didn't get too many good looks, well aware that it would be easier with no Garnett or Bass in the picture.

Pierce, who had 20 points against the Mavs, will be the first to tell you that it's tough not being able to have the kind of freedom he's used to offensively.

But he totally understands where teams like Dallas are coming from.

"You've got to understand that if I was on the other team, I'd do that, too," Pierce said. "Especially when you don't have guys like Kevin and Rondo and Brandon out there, guyswho can space the floor. They have a good game plan and we've just got to figure out ways to get other guys the ball, and other guys need to step up and like I said, weather the storm."

Cabot: Browns should trade 1st overall pick for Garoppolo if necessary

Cabot: Browns should trade 1st overall pick for Garoppolo if necessary

Mary Kay Cabot from Cleveland.com joins Sports Tonight by phone and says that if there is a bidding war for Jimmy Garoppolo, the Cleveland Browns should give up the 1st overall pick.

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics got their butts kicked (again) on the boards Monday night by the Atlanta Hawks who defeated them 114-98.

The Celtics get their butts kicked most nights on the boards, and yet still find a way to win more often than not.

That’s why the possibility of adding Andrew Bogut who was bought out by Philadelphia is so intriguing.

Once he clears waivers on Wednesday, he’ll officially be a man in high demand with teams trying to show him love as if he was Kevin Durant or LeBron James.

But as much as the 31-year-old center on paper seems like a good addition to the Celtics roster because of his rebounding prowess and rim protection on defense, here’s what you have to keep in mind with Bogut or any other player Danny Ainge and the C's front-office brass decides to bring through that door.

Whatever team a new guy joins, he’ll look to play decent minutes and showcase his skills with unrestricted free agency around the corner this summer.

As far as Bogut is concerned, he's one of the more underrated members of Golden State's title squad in 2016.

Draymond Green's all-around game, Steph Curry’s 3-point bombs and Klay Thompson’s two-way talent were all key to the Warriors winning a title two years ago. But lost in their success among fans was Bogut’s defense which covered up for a lot of mistakes, miscues and blown assignments.

Whatever team Bogut signs with, ideally he would be looking to provide that same interior presence.

But here’s another issue.

Adding Bogut means waiving a player, most likely a young player that the Celtics will have essentially decided to give up on.

Since Bogut is a big, the logical target of being waived is Jordan Mickey.

The second-round pick from 2015 has shown improvement, but not nearly enough to garner steady minutes or even sporadic time on this roster.

Amir Johnson and Al Horford are the starters, with Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko rounding out their four-man big rotation so they're not going anywhere.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens typically plays those four bigs every night, so the idea of adding a fifth to the regular rotation doesn’t make sense.

Will one of those four be cool with not playing some nights or having their minutes severely carved up?

Would Bogut be cool with sometimes playing in games, or sometimes playing the role of waving a towel supporting his team from the bench?

And how does his presence affect chemistry which is a major deal for this team and its success this season.

Boston’s bigs in terms of rebounding, have not been good all season.

We can all agree on that.

And yet despite those struggles, they have the second-best record in the East (38-22) along with being a top-5 or top-6 team record-wise in the NBA.

They’re able to win because they have solid talent and Teflon-strong bonds to where they don't just play with each other, but for each other every night. 

We have seen stretches this season when the minutes have been cut or wiped out altogether for rotation players like Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko and Jaylen Brown.

And yet during the time when they are not playing as much, you never hear any public grumbling or private bickering among themselves or to the media.

There is a high level of accountability with Brad Stevens-coached teams that if you’re doing your job well, you’ll play. If not, your minutes might go to a teammate.

The best example of this came earlier this season when Gerald Green was essentially a practice player until Christmas Day when he came up big in Boston’s win over the New York Knicks.

Green saw more minutes going forward, but soon found himself struggling to get on the floor afterwards on some nights and the man whose minutes he took – Rozier – was back in the playing mix. 

During those times when Rozier wasn't playing, he said Green was a fixture in his ear, offering words of encouragement regardless of whether he was playing a lot or not at all. 

“Gerald’s always encouraging me, encouraging the young guys to just keep working, be patient and when your time comes, run with it,” Rozier recently told CSNNE.com. “He’s been a great vet for us young guys.”

And while Bogut wouldn’t come in looking to mess with the team’s chemistry, that doesn’t matter.

Anytime a new guy is added to the mix, it has the potential to be a really good pick-up or a potentially catastrophic equation of subtraction by addition.

In talking with a league executive who Bogut played for earlier in his career, he said Bogut would be a good addition to the Celtics roster from a basketball standpoint.

“But you never know about how they fit outside of that,” the executive told CSNNE.com. “As we’ve seen, sometimes it’s just as important that guys click off the court as it is that they can play together on it. I don’t think that would be an issue, but with new guys and not knowing how that locker room works and its dynamics, you just never really know how it’ll play out.

The executive added, “But if they can get him after the Philly buyout, do it. He can help them. His strength is their weakness; it makes a lot of sense for both sides honestly.”