Celtics

Rivers will look at bench to help Pierce, Garnett after marathon game

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Rivers will look at bench to help Pierce, Garnett after marathon game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Less than 24 hours after a thrilling triple-overtime win over Denver, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has no plans to change up his starting lineup for tonight's game against Charlotte.

But it's worth keeping an eye on how Rivers handles the minutes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who played 54 and 47 minutes, respectively.

"We'd like to limit their minutes in the first half as much as possible, but it is what it is," Rivers said.

For Pierce, the 54 minutes on Sunday was the most he played since he dropped 50 points on the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 15, 2006.

As for Garnett, it was the most minutes he played as a Celtic and the most he played overall since logging 51 against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2007 when he was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Having logged so many minutes, it goes without saying that a Celtics victory will likely involve someone stepping up not named Garnett or Pierce.

"That's every night," Boston's Courtney Lee told CSNNE.com. "It may be some nights someone else might carry the load. But last night, they did for a large amount of time. For sure those guys are probably going to be a little fatigued. Everybody else has to step up and continue to do the things that we've been doing."

Rivers said he will look to his bench more tonight, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Boston's second unit has outscored its backup brethren in each of the C's last seven games - all Boston wins - by an average of 12.8 points per game.

"We're playing 10-deep, sometimes 11 on some nights," Rivers said. "It's just who we are. Everybody understands that, everybody knows. It makes them more comfortable."

And the Celtics are a much tougher team to beat, regardless of how many minutes their core veterans have logged.

With so many different players contributing, the minutes are not going to be consistent night-in and night-out for players.

For example, Lee played just 23 minutes in Sunday's win - the fewest minutes among the starters - while Jason Terry came off the bench and logged a season-high 43 minutes which contributed heavily to his season-high 26 points.

"I didn't have it rolling," said Lee, who had two points while missing four of his five shot attempts against the Nuggets on Sunday. "Doc saw that, made a great sub with J.T. (Terry). It was his night. He had it going, along with Paul and KG. So any given night, it might be someone else's turn. That's what makes us such a great team and why we've been so successful lately. We just have to keep doing what we're doing, keep this winning streak alive."

Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

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Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

As the Cavaliers fall further and further behind the Celtics, it appears there's some internal grumbling that the problems that have led to eight losses in their past 10 games aren't fixable with Cleveland's current roster.

Multiple reports indicate that a number of "prominent" Cavs  (and there's no more prominent player in the NBA than LeBron James) shared those thoughts with ESPN, Cleveland.com and TheAthletic.com.

After their loss to the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors Monday night in another Finals rematch, the third-place Cavs have dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Celtics and 3 1/2 behind the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.

The complaints are a clear message to management that a change will be necessary at the trade deadline and, according to Cleveland.com, the offseason acquisition of Isaiah Thomas isn't going over too well. Thomas, who was out until Jan. 2 while he recovered from hip surgery after he was acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, is shooting 36 percent and is averaging almost as many turnovers (2.4) as assists (3.4). But it's his defense that's hurting the Cavs more. Here's what Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported a "league source" told him:

“Rotations are awful. IT is so much worse than Kyrie defensively it’s insane. There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other.”

Meanwhile, the guy Thomas was traded for has led the Celtics to an East-leading 34-10 record and become a leading MVP candidate.

The Case Against Anthony Davis to the Celtics

The Case Against Anthony Davis to the Celtics

Let’s get this out of the way: the Celtics should absolutely try as hard as possible to land Anthony Davis. Danny Ainge’s track record means any deal that ultimately lands “The Brow” would, at worst, be fair, and at best, be a steal.

That said, there are arguments to be made against an Anthony Davis trade. Here they are:

1. GARY TANGUAY CAN'T BE RIGHT
This is more important than anything else. Gary Tanguay cannot have this win. We can’t validate his reckless speculation with a Davis-to-Celtics deal. Banner 18 is not worth the years of Gary telling us he was right about this. All joking aside, let’s give Tanguay some credit for predicting this, even if it was luck.

2. ACQUISITION COST
Freedom isn’t free and neither is a 24-year-old mega-star. It’s important to realize that the Celtics are not the only team making this trade. The Pelicans will, justifiably, need one of the biggest return packages in NBA history in order to move Anthony Davis. For starters, say goodbye to Jayson Tatum. The C’s wunderkind looks like a future star and there’s just no way New Orleans makes this deal without him. Ditto for the Lakers/Kings pick acquired from the 76ers this summer and at least one more future first-rounder. Did we mention Al Horford yet? His salary is almost a must in any deal for Davis. 

MORE CELTICS:

I’m not positive a package of Tatum, Horford and every future pick of value is enough to convince the Pelicans to trade Davis. If I’m New Orleans, I’m asking for Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Horford and the LAL/SAC pick for Davis and the ridiculously expensive corpse of Omer Asik. So yeah, the Celtics have positioned themselves to pull off a deal of this magnitude, but it’s sure gonna cost them.

3. FINANCIAL COST
Including Horford in a deal for Davis lessens the blow of adding another max player; however, the Celtics will also be trading at least one of their rookie-scale starters, and that cannot be overlooked. Tatum and Brown aren’t just potential All-Stars, they are cost-controlled starters who the Celtics are paying a combined $10.6 million this season. The other seven Eastern Conference playoff teams (as of Tuesday) are paying an average of $36M for their starting SG/SF combos. Losing one or both of Tatum and Brown means the C’s will be pinching pennies to try and fill out their starting lineup. The calculus gets much harder when Kyrie Irving opts-out of his deal after next season.

4. INJURY CONCERNS
Davis is an absolute stud when he’s on the floor. The problem is he’s often sidelined with injuries. Davis has never played more than 75 games in a season, averaging 67 games through his first five years in the NBA (he’s already missed seven games this year). Davis’ alien-like size/athleticism combo make him a devastating two-way force, but might also make him injury prone for his entire career. Similar to Joel Embiid of the 76ers, Davis sometimes seems too big and fast for his own good, crashing to the floor at a rate rivaled only by Kelly Olynyk.

5. DOES HE MOVE THE NEEDLE ENOUGH?
Is Davis good enough to overcome reasons 1-4 on this list? Going by individual stats, absolutely. Davis has the third-highest career Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in NBA history, trailing only Michael Jordan and LeBron James. But that individual success has only led to a 165-206 record and one playoff appearance for the Pelicans franchise. Before this season, the Davis-led Pelicans boasted a top-10 offense once in five seasons. It’s the same on the defensive end, with one top-10 finish in Davis’ first five years. If Davis is such a game changer, how come he hasn’t been able to impact winning at a greater clip? Most of that can probably be blamed on Pelicans management for doing a terrible job building around him, but it should be a question the Celtics ask before trading just about everything to acquire him.

The Celtics would be crazy turning down the chance to add Davis to a core of Irving, Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens, even if it does mean Tanguay can brag for the rest of his life. Ainge has assembled a super team before and you better believe he’s on the phone right now trying to do it again.

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