Starters enjoy well-deserved rest

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Starters enjoy well-deserved rest

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON As the final seconds ticked away at the TD Garden, the Green and White-clad sea of fans weren't the only ones cheering.

Ray Allen. Paul Pierce. Rajon Rondo.

All of the Boston Celtics' starters were off the floor for the entire fourth quarter, rooting for their backups, as the C's delivered an emphatic 110-86 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The C's got off to a fast start, kept it going throughout the first half and continued to pull away in the third quarter.

Utah has been arguably the best come-from-behind team in the NBA this season.

But starting the fourth quarter down by 22 points, on the road, at Boston?

For a moment, the Jazz did make things somewhat interesting.

After a jumper by Utah's Franciso Elson cut Boston's lead to 17 points, the Celtics closed out the quarter with a 6-1 spurt that included four free throws from rookie Semih Erden.

That gave the C's a commanding 22-point lead going into the fourth.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had every intention of having his reserves finish out the game.

In the fourth, a free throw by Elson cut Boston's lead to 19 points with 4:57 to play.

"I was concerned," Rivers admitted. "They cut it to nineteen and my number (to bring back the starters) was fifteen."

Nate Robinson hit a 3-pointer that pushed Boston's lead back to 22 points.

"I had just told the starters to get stretched," Rivers said. "Because I was thinking they may have to go back in. So it's nice to be able to get any rest."

Especially when it comes in the first game of a back-to-back set.

"It's always good to give them (starters) a chance to rest, especially on back-to-backs," Celtics swingman Marquis Daniels told CSNNE.com. "Regardless, anytime it's good. We're going to need those guys later on in the season. The more playing time we get, that'll help us out because you never know when we'll be called on."

Glen Davis knows this better than most of Boston's backups.

Davis has started nine games this season in place of Kevin Garnett, who was out with a muscle strain in his lower right leg.

As a starter, Davis averaged 13.7 points per game.

Coming off the bench, he still chips in with a respectable 12.5 points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field as a reserve.

Davis understands the importance of the bench being able to maintain a comfortable lead, with or without a game the following night.

"We need as much rest as possible," Davis told CSNNE.com following a 15-point, 7-rebound effort against the Jazz. "Going out there, doing what we do."

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

Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

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Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

WALTHAM, Mass. – Like so many players who have spent part of their NBA journey having Kevin Garnett barking in their ear words of encouragement or just telling them to get the hell out his (bleepin’) way, you can count Avery Bradley among those who will miss the man affectionately known as ‘Big Ticket.’

Garnett recently announced his retirement after 21 NBA seasons, leaving behind a legacy that includes an NBA title won with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Among the current Celtics, Bradley is the only current member of the team who played with Garnett in Boston.

When Bradley got the news about Garnett’s retirement, he said he sat down and wrote Garnett a letter.

“To let him know how much I appreciate him, how special he is to me,” said Bradley who added that his relationship with Garnett was impactful both on and off the court. “Kevin’s just an amazing person.”

Leon Powe, a member of the Celtics’ championship team in 2008 with Garnett, echoed similar praise about his former teammate.

“As a teammate, as a player, KG meant the world to me,” Powe told CSNNE.com. “Intensity … he brought everything you would want to the game, to the practice field, he was just non-stop energy.”

And when you saw it time after time after time with him, pretty soon it became contagious.

“The intensity just motivated every guy on the team, including me,” Powe said. “It made you want to go out and lay it out on the line for him and the team. You see how passionate he is. You see he’s one of the greats. And when you see one of the greats of the NBA going hard like that all the time, you’re like ‘Man, why can’t I do that? It trickled down to me and every young guy on the team.

Powe added, “He brought that every single day, night, morning, it didn’t matter. He brought that intensity. That’s all you could ask for.”

And Garnett’s impact was about more than changing a franchise’s fortunes in terms of wins and losses.

He also proved to be instrumental in helping re-shape the culture into one in which success was once again defined by winning at the highest levels.

“KG has had as big an impact as anybody I’ve been around in an organization,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “The thing that stands out the most to me about KG is his team-first mentality. He never wanted it to be about KG, individual success to trump team success. He lived that in his day-to-day practice. That’s something I’ll remember about him.”