Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

191544.jpg

Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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 CSNNE.com 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 CSNNE.com. "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 atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

MORE ON CELTICS-SIXERS

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”