Celtics

Notes: KG's aggressiveness doesn't always pay off

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Notes: KG's aggressiveness doesn't always pay off

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA The concept of a more aggressive Kevin Garnett has its merits.

But there's a downside to it, one that we saw first-hand in Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Looking to score, Garnett kept on firing away as one shot after another rimmed in and out. He finished with 16 points, but missed 15 of his 19 shot attempts.

"Lord knows I missed some shots that I work on every day," Garnett said. "It is what it is."

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "He had a bad night. I knew he was human before the Clippers loss, and it is confirmed. He just had one of those nights."

When you focus as much as Garnett does on his game, it's unlikely that he'll have a similar poor shooting night against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Although the C's did have a couple days off prior to the Clippers game, Rivers is concerned more about keeping Garnett's minutes in their usual 34-minutes-a-game range.

In Garnett's quest to take some of the scoring pressure off of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Rivers believes he might have been looking to shoot too much.

"I thought he was pressing at times offensively, which he never does," Rivers said. "I never thought he had balance on his shots. I thought everything was front rim on his shots, which is fatigue. That was tough."

While the Clippers would be more than happy to take the credit for Garnett's shooting woes, they know better.

"Our defense was good, but he's a great shooter and he missed some shots he normally makes," said Clippers star Blake Griffin
Collins in line for coaching accolade
There's more than a month left in the regular season, but it's clear Sixers head coach Doug Collins will get strong consideration for the league's Coach of the Year award.

He took over a team that was just 27-55 last season. This season, they're 33-31 and currently have the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the Sixers' success this season, including the formation of the South Beach Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

"It weakened Toronto. It weakened Cleveland," said Collins, referring to the former teams of Bosh and James, respectively. "And LeBron didn't go to a New York or New Jersey that was banking on him coming in and helping turn their franchise around. For us . . . that sort of helps us a bit."

Bench still coming together
Boston is expected to suit up 10 players again on Friday.

Among those 10 players, half were not with the team prior to the Feb. 24 trading deadline.

Not surprisingly, the Celtics have had moments when the team's lack of chemistry has been an issue.

But for the most part, it hasn't been a big enough hurdle to get in the way of winning.

Since the players acquired via the trade arrived in Boston, the C's have been 5-1 in that span.

"It's always difficult because a new team has different things that where you were at in the first place," said newcomer Jeff Green. "But we've got a good group of guys, all close guys who learn quick. We've been getting up to speed with a lot of stuff and catching on quicker than normal so hopefully it continues to go well."

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

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”