Celtics

Rivers undecided on final playoff roster spot

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Rivers undecided on final playoff roster spot

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - While the Celtics' final regular season games looked like a chance for the veteran squad to catch their breath before the playoffs begin on Sunday, it was also an opportunity for Doc Rivers to round out his postseason roster.

With Game 1 against the New York Knicks just days away, it is still uncertain who will be listed on the 12-man roster.

Rivers has been taking a closer look at the bench players who didn't see consistent minutes during the regular season. On Monday night against the Washington Wizards, Von Wafer played nearly 45 minutes as a starter and Carlos Arroyo played nearly 30.

In Wednesday's regular season finale against the Knicks, Wafer, Arroyo, Avery Bradley, Troy Murphy, and Sasha Pavlovic all played more than 25 minutes.

Event after game number 82, there is still time for the reserves to make a case for themselves.

Thats up for debate, Rivers said prior to the Celtics 112-102 victory over the Knicks. I dont think thats newsworthy, personally. What would be more newsworthy is if that 12th man on either roster, if hes playing a lot, I think that would be newsworthy. But no, Im not set obviously. I think the game the other night helped and the game tonight will actually help, and then the two practices.

A multitude of injuries have hindered Rivers from putting a true second unit on the court this season.

Take Shaquille ONeal as an example. With ONeal still sidelined, the Celtics have inserted Jermaine ONeal into the starting lineup. In their ideal situation, Shaq would get the start.

Then theres Delonte West, who, when healthy, would come off the bench behind Rajon Rondo. But after re-aggravating his right ankle on Monday, he did not play on Wednesday, making Arroyo the top option and giving Bradley an opportunity for playing time.

Its been difficult trying to get it on the floor, Rivers said. But weve pretty much said what weve wanted to do all year, we just havent got the chance to do it.

Rivers isnt stressing over making the decision, though. Coaches are permitted to change their rosters during a series, so he will make the necessary adjustments as they come along. It is a welcome change from the policy that was in place during his days as a player.

The great thing about it now is its not a big deal anymore because you can change it every day, he said. Its not like when I played in the olden days when you had to make another roster change and do it for the entire playoffs."

Rivers smiled, I was one of the reasons that rule was changed, because it sucked.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

PHILADELPHIA – Despite playing its second straight game without a key rotation player, the Boston Celtics did just enough to get their first win of the season, 102-92, over Philadelphia.

Boston (1-2) was led by Kyrie Irving’s game-high 21 points, but it was Shane Larkin's floor game down the stretch that truly catapulted Boston to its first win of the season.

Larkin, who was seeing action in large part because Marcus Smart was out with a left ankle injury, provided a huge spark in the fourth before finishing with 10 points and four assists.

He drained a 3-pointer that tied the game at 75-all, which was part of an 18-9 Celtics run.

The Sixers (0-2) were led by J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start, but finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston played with a lead for most of the first half, but Philadelphia took over with a 7-0 run to end the second quarter and had the Celtics playing catch-up for all of the third and some of the fourth quarter.

Boston was once again short-handed, with Marcus Smart out with a left ankle injury. He replaced Gordon Hayward, whose left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, is expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

But with players out, that opens up opportunities for others to step up.

Larkin, who walked away from a contract overseas that would have paid about $5 million more than he’s making with the Celtics, was one of those players.

Aron Baynes, who got the start with Smart out, had 10 points and eight rebounds. Boston also got another strong game off the bench from Terry Rozier who had 14 points and seven rebounds

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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