Despite off-night, C's still confident in reserves

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Despite off-night, C's still confident in reserves

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Boston Celtics came into the season believing their strength is in their numbers.

As impressive as their starting unit may be, the C's were just as confident in their second unit.

When the C's went to the bench, there would be no scoring lull, not with guys like Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis as reserves.

But then came a few injuries.

That was followed by a few more.

Before you knew it, the Celtics' second unit looked like, well, a second unit.

Just as the injuries have forced the Celtics' starters to transform their play to some degree, the same can be said for the team's second unit.

Getting points from them would be nice, but no longer is it an necessity.

"If we're not getting shots to fall on offense, we have to provide energy and good defense," Celtics forward Luke Harangody told CSNNE.com.

That wasn't necessarily what happened in the first half of Friday's 99-94 win over Charlotte.

Boston went into the half tied at 42, with the second unit going scoreless while collectively missing all eight of their shots from the field. For the game, Boston's backups finished with nine points, five assists and six rebounds while missing 12 of their 15 shots from the field.

The starters re-established Boston's control in the third quarter, and the second unit players essentially maintained it.

Rivers had a conversation with his team in the third quarter reminding them about the importance of getting stops defensively, regardless of how good or bad things are going offensively.

"We've got a lot of guys with offensive minds on the second unit," Rivers said. "And if they're' not making shots, then all of a sudden they can't defend anymore because mentally they're still down on the offensive end. That's what we just keep working with them at; they're getting better at it."

No one disputes that the Celtics' reserves didn't have their best game offensively.

But that won't have any bearing on the Celtics' view of their second unit.

"There's going to be nights when they carry us, and vice-versa," said Rajon Rondo, who had 18 points, 13 assists and six rebounds. "We got the win. It doesn't matter if they scored or not. They did a great job defensively. They didn't give up a big lead or anything, so it was cool."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”