Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes


Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

By A.Sherrod Blakely

SALT LAKE CITY The addition of Jeff Green gives the Boston Celtics another versatile player that coach Doc Rivers can use in a lot of ways.

One might be having him on the floor in the fourth quarter, a role that has primarily belonged to Glen Davis.

While Davis saw the bulk of the minutes down the stretch in Boston's 107-102 win over Utah on Monday night, there's no guarantee that Green won't have that job fairly soon.

We saw a glimpse of Green's role expanding when he was the first big man Rivers used off the bench.

Rivers said deciding which of the two will play won't be difficult.

"It depends on who's playing well," Rivers said.

Green comes to a Celtics team where he'll be coming off the bench - something relatively new to him.

In his four seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green started more than 90 percent of the time.

So he's no stranger to being on the floor in the game's closing minutes.

He isn't sure if Rivers will eventually go with him down the stretch of close games, but he's more than up to the challenge.

Green played nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter on Monday.

Although he only had two points, Davis did a solid job defensively, including blocking a Gordon Hayward lay-up attempt to prevent the Jazz from taking a one-point lead early in the fourth.

"Jeff is probably one of the most versatile guys I've been around," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's . . . it just looks like . . . he does a lot of things that, he just makes it look simple. I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad he's an addition to our team."

As far as getting an opportunity to play in the fourth quarter, Green told that, "It's cool," and added, "that shows that Rivers has a lot of faith in my game, allowing me to be out at the end of games."

For Davis, one of the league's top sixth men this season, he is often on the floor late in the game at the center position.

He was on Monday, and came up with a number of important plays in helping the Celtics squeak out the victory.

Davis finished with nine points, five of which came in the fourth. He made three of four free throws, including one that broke a 94-94 tie with 3:44 to play.

He understands that the Celtics adding Green will result in him having to compete with another versatile forward for playing time.

"It helps a lot," Davis said of the competition. "Just to have a guy of his caliber. He does so many things. It just helps us in so many ways."

But Davis, who played the entire fourth quarter on Monday, understands that Green's emergence may result in his playing time being trimmed some.

No worries, says Davis.

"It is what it is," Davis told "You gonna have to fight for minutes. That's just what it is. No matter how much you've proven yourself, there's always something they think you need no matter what you do. So for me, I'm just here to play."

And while the C's aren't necessarily pitting the two against one another, there's no mistaking that they will doing all they can to garner as many minutes as possible - especially those end-of-game minutes.

"They all want to play," Rivers said. "I don't think there's ever a negative effect to competition."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”