Davis on Celtics' bench: 'It's coming together'

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Davis on Celtics' bench: 'It's coming together'

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - The Boston Celtics have been searching for the identity of their second unit the entire season.

First it was injuries that prevented that from happening. Then midseason acquisitions forced a slew of new faces to gel with only a few months to go.

With the playoffs starting in less than two weeks, the Celtics have struggled to establish consistency and rhythm with their bench.

On Tuesday night, they found it.

Its coming together like we want it to come together, Glen Davis told CSNNE.com following the Celtics' 99-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It takes time for us to be able to gel and have chemistry the way we want to have it.

Davis, Jeff Green, Delonte West, and Nenad Krstic (who was moved to the bench following the return of Jermaine ONeal) offered a glimpse into the potential of the Celtics second unit.

They combined for 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists while committing just 3 turnovers. Coming into the game, the bench had averaged 26.7 points per game and scored just 15 points in a recent loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

I think were getting together, said Krstic. The first couple games we played together we werent on the same page. But I think the biggest key is were getting used to each other and playing together. I think thats the key for the second unit.

The players noted improved communication and defense. They shared similar reaction after the game, indicative of their cohesiveness on the court.

I knew it was going to take time for us to grasp what Doc Rivers really wanted, but I think now were starting to click and were starting to get what we need out of the second unit as far as defensively, said Green. We gained that trust with one another as far as on the defensive end which led to great offensive possessions."

The bench allowed the Celtics to maintain a lead without having to rely on the starters, whose rest is critical at this point in the season.

The second unit was more cohesive, said Kevin Garnett. I thought the ball movement was very steady. I thought they were aggressive, but they shared the ball. Both the first and second teams talked to each other about just more consistency, and I thought both teams were just that tonight.

After a solid effort on Tuesday night, the Celtics' second unit looks to carry that momentum through the remainder of the regular season and right into the playoffs.

We were just on point tonight, and thats how we need to be in the playoffs, said Davis. We need to stay focused and stay simple, do what we know whats best. Dont do anything out of character. Do what we do.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp: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.”