Celtics

C's three-point attempts down with Pierce out

560370.jpg

C's three-point attempts down with Pierce out

WALTHAM It goes without saying that not having Paul Pierce (right heel) in the lineup impacts the Boston Celtics' offense in a negative way.

Nowhere is his absence more noticeable than in the C's lack of 3-point attempts. While the two-game preseason schedule is a small sample, it's a stat that's hard to ignore.

After taking nearly 14 a game last season, the C's launched just seven in each of their preseason games against the Raptors. Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't surprised to see that number significantly trimmed with Pierce not playing in either game.

"When you have Paul and Ray (Allen), the floor is spread," Rivers said. "And the spacing is different. When you have Marquis (Daniels) and Sasha (Pavlovic) and Avery (Bradley), those guys are more slashers. So it's a function of that."

He's right. But don't be surprised to see the C's jack fewer 3s even when Pierce does return.

When you look at this Celtics lineup, it's clear that the bulk of the scoring from the bench is going to most likely come from their frontcourt which will be led by Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass.

Wilcox has a nice touch around the basket, evident by him shooting 57.1 percent from the field in the two preseason games.

Bass had a strong preseason as well, finishing as the team's second-leading scorer in the preseason (10.5 points per game), while also shooting 57.1 percent from the field.

"Brandon has to be a big part of our offense," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "He'll be our best scorer off the bench. Marquis can give us a lot of different things, not just in the scoring category, but just having the ball in his hands is pretty good. On any given night I can get hot, or any given night Chris' energy can show up in the rebound and point column. So it might come from a lot of different places, but we've got to be prepared either way."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

MORE:

Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE