Celtics

Celtics bench finds strength in sum of parts

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Celtics bench finds strength in sum of parts

WALTHAM In Boston's last two games, we have seen both the promise -- and problems -- that come about when you have a bench like the Boston Celtics.

As you go through the roster, you won't find a single player that you can turn to and know you'll get major production every night. But collectively, they do more than enough good things to validate their use.

We saw just how big a difference they can make, with their play in Sunday's win over Washington being one of the keys to Boston's 12-point win.

Because they don't have that one guy off the bench who delivers steady, consistent production, there will be nights when the group as a whole doesn't play well and no one player has the type of game to change that.

Their play had little to do with Boston's seven-point win at Charlotte the following night.

"That's what's so great about back-to-backs when your bench plays well," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "If they just play well in one of the two (games), you're good."

Despite their record which is currently the seventh-best in the East, the Celtics' goals of going deep into the playoffs have not changed.

This isn't like four or five years ago when the C's starting five was so much better than the opposing team that there was no great need for a deep and talented bench.

"Bench is key," said Brandon Bass, who began the season coming off the bench but is now a full-time starter. "If you want to be successful in this league, you need to have a strong bench that'll come through. You need them."

And like the C's as a whole, the bench understands a big part of their success will be on their ability to play more consistently.

"Just getting the chemistry out there . . . we're just trying to keep building our chemistry," said Celtics reserve Marquis Daniels.

Developing that chemistry is challenged somewhat when you have a slew of injuries and illnesses to starters. That forces players who normally come off the bench into roles with the first unit.

"We're all professionals," Daniels said. "They know when they come in, it doesn't really change much. If you're in with the starters, you're doing more of a role, and with the second group you're doing more of your role. It's not much of a difference. They're all professionals. They do a good job."

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

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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

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE