Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes

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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

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."