Celtics

Celtics look to improve offensive rebounding

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Celtics look to improve offensive rebounding

MIAMI Every season brings about a different incarnation of Boston Celtics basketball.

But poor rebounding, especially on the offensive boards, has been a constant in recent years.

Based on the team's play in the season opener, that may be about to change.

For all of the late-game gaffes and missteps taken by the Celtics in their 106-104 loss to the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, one of the more glaring positives that they can take from the loss was the job they did on the offensive glass.

Boston, a card-carrying member of the cellar dweller club when it comes to offensive rebounds, snatched 13 offensive rebounds in the loss.

It was a far cry from how this team has fared on the offensive glass in recent years.

The Celtics have been the worst offensive-rebounding team each of the last two seasons, averaging 7.8 last year and 8.7 during the 2009-2010 season.

Under Doc Rivers, the C's have never finished any better than 15th (2006-2007 season) in this category.

Because the Celtics have been so consistently weak in this area, there has been a perception that this is something that Rivers doesn't stress.

Not true, he says.

"We always wanted to do that," Rivers said. "That's been one of the most misunderstood things about us. We've always told our bigs, 'If you're under the basket and we shoot, how about going to get it?' "

The biggest difference is that the Celtics now have players who have not just the ability to offensive rebound, but also the desire.

Brandon Bass understands his role with the C's involves being a factor offensively.

That involves not only scoring when he has the ball, but also creating multiple scoring opportunities for himself and the Celtics.

He did just that on Sunday as he tallied a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds -- five of which were offensive boards.

"I just wanted to come out and contribute in any way I can," Bass said.

As far as his offensive rebounding prowess against the Knicks -- his five offensive boards were just two short of tying his career high -- Bass said, "You have them nights where the ball just goes your way, I guess. I was just trying to help us out, and rebounding was that area."

And that's a change the Celtics would be more than happy to embrace moving forward.

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.