This is what the Celtics' second-unit was supposed to look like. A bench that can knock down shots, pick up the starters when they are having off nights and mask any injury that might pop up along the way. For the past four games, the second unit has been a successful blend.
Spearheaded by 14 points each from Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa, the bench scored 52 points on 65 percent shooting and the Celtics held on for a 106-104 victory over the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers. It's their second win against a division leader during this recent four-game streak, sending this roller-coaster season back on the upswing.
With the losses of both Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) for the remainder of the season, everyone on the roster has been forced into a bigger role. So far, the players are responding.
In the four games without Rondo, the reserves are a plus-69 (184-115) compared to the opposition. The Celtics have had two or more double-digit scorers from the second unit in all four games, and the reserves shot better than 55 percent in three of the four victories.
"Balance is the formula for our success," said Jason Terry, who finished with 13 points yesterday including a huge elbow jumper to put the team up five with 1:09 to play. "You know we got to do it by committee. Obviously we got two of our key parts down, but again, spreading the wealth. We got to make sure everyone gets involved, everybody's into the game."
Green's efficiency on the offensive end has been a big part of the resurgence. He was the recipient of some crisp ball movement around the perimeter on a couple of corner 3-pointers, most notably the one to cap the first half with the Celtics up 59-40. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep, and entered yesterday a team-best plus-45 — playing about 27 minutes per night — in the previous 10 games.
"I mean, the shots weren't falling (before)," said Green, who was a plus-4 in nearly 23 minutes yesterday. "That's about it. Now they are. You guys are starting to see what this bench is capable of."
Plenty in reserve of late
Boston Herald | Feb 4