Celtics

Celtics finding consistency with depth

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Celtics finding consistency with depth

The Celtics three leading scorers in last night's win over Phoenix were all reserves. While only one starter (Kevin Garnett) had a plusminus in the positive range, five bench players joined him in the club. Jared Sullinger led everyone at 24, Jason Terry was 19, Jeff Green was 16 and Courtney Lee was 12.

Basically, last night was a glimpse into the reserve unit that everyone envisioned coming into this season. Only without Darko. Sweet, sweet Darko.

Anyway, after the game, Kevin Garnett was asked about the bench's performance, and stopped short of dropping too much praise. At the very least, he wasn't ready to deem them a finished product.

I dont know, you know," he said. "But theyre definitely starting to make some noise."

But it's what he said next that I found most telling: "I think Docs starting to understand the rotation hes going with, and I think the rotation we are going with," KG said. "Hes confident in it, and everybody kind of knows their niche right now.

And there it is. For the last month or so we've begged for this team to find some consistency. For Doc to finally figure out his rotations and put this roster in the best position to succeed. Until recently, it wasn't easy. In large part, due to Avery Bradley's injury, but also because the new additions like Terry, Green and Lee were so consistently out of sorts. But now, with Bradley back, and Brandon Bass in the starting line-up, everything is falling into place. Is it that Doc finally figured it out? Or that the team just finally woke up?

It's probably a combination. But either way, the result is fantastic for the Celtics. In the NBA, you need every players to be confidentcomfortable with his own identity before you can achieve anything on the team level. And if nothing else, this roster starters and reserves have started to figure out who they are as individuals, and as a result, they're coming together as one. In the words of KG: "They're definitely starting to make some noise."

Just in time for Danny to pull off a trade? Yeah, maybe. But for now, at least the weeks andor months until he pulls the trigger will be a lot more productive.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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