Celtics notes: Mavericks' reserves steal show


Celtics notes: Mavericks' reserves steal show

By Jessica Camerato

BOSTON - With players like Shaquille ONeal, Delonte West, and Glen Davis in the second unit, the Celtics have one of the top benches in the NBA.

Then again, having Shawn Marion and Jason Terry in the reserves isnt too shabby either.

The Mavericks received 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals from Marion and Terry combined on Friday during their 101-97 win over the Celtics.

Marquis Daniels led the Celtics with 10 points off the bench while Davis added six boards. The Mavs bench outscored the Celtics, 30-24.

This isnt the first time this season the Celtics reserves have been topped by the Mavs. They were outscored, 35-21, in the Mavericks November 8 win.

If I look at this game and the last game we played against them, its the guys that come off the bench that youve got to limit their production, said Ray Allen. I think they have a few guys that had an impact on the game in both games. If we could match bench production, our bench has to be better than theirs.

Davis Taking Shots at They Come

There was a stretch this season when Glen Davis was attempting 14, 15, as many as 18 shots per game. He embraced his increased offensive role while stepping into the starting lineup for an injured Kevin Garnett.

But now that Garnett has returned, Davis shot attempts have become less frequent.

On Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, he took just three shots, tying a season low. He finished the game with only two points in 20 minutes.

Not to worry, though, for Davis. He still grabbed six rebounds while being tasked to guard Dirk Nowitzki (29 points).

The ball just didnt flow my way tonight, he told CSNNE.com. Thats just how it is. Youre going to have times when youre going to get 12, 13 shots. But some nights you arent going to get that. Thats just what it is.

Doc Not Stressing Over Schedule

The Celtics will face the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat in a span of eight days. Playing one of those teams is a tough enough match up in itself, and all three in a row is even more of a challenge.

But rather than get overwhelmed by the opponents at hand, Doc Rivers is looking forward to going up against high-caliber competition.

I was concerned about it anyway because theyre just good teams, but not overly concerned than in any other stretch, he said. Its just good teams coming in -- no different in any game, just a lot of good teams. So itll be good for us. I look forward to it.

After losing to the Mavericks on a last-second shot, the Celtics know they have to stick to their defensive intensity in these upcoming games.

We just need to watch our defensive executions, said Davis. We need to make sure that we have our defensive assignments in tact.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”