A night after the bench was outscored, 18-13, by Jason Terry himself, Michael Finley admitted the obvious: The Celtics don’t have a Jason Terry type, someone to score baskets in bunches nightly. (NBA.com)
“The more times we get to play together, the better we’ll be,” said Finley, a 15-year vet who asked to be released by the Spurs late last month. “But when it comes down to it, it’s about our starters and our Big Three, in particular. When they’re rolling and doing well, we have a great chance to win the ballgame.
“The bench, we just try to come in and keep the run going, get something started or just give our starters a break. There’s no Jason Terry or Manu Ginobili type of sixth man on our bench. We’re just coming in trying to keep the ship afloat.”
Last night, the bench didn’t play well. Not at all. But they stayed close enough to the Mavericks that Doc Rivers was able to rest his starters as long as he wanted to.
There will be nights when the bench fires on all cylinders, and everything will come easy. Then there will be nights like last night, when the bench struggles but hopefully keeps the game close enough for the starters to win it.
Doc Rivers knows there will be times the bench will underperform, but likes where his second unit is trending.
“It’s been a bench of transition more than anything and right now they’ve been together for a little stretch, the same group every night, and they’re starting to get used to each other,” Rivers said. “That’s more of it than anything else. I never thought they had a problem with roles. I just thought they had a problem with playing at times, just trying to sustain any consistency.”
“They’re getting it,” Rajon Rondo added. “They outplayed Houston’s bench [Friday] night. Not every night is going to be perfect.”
Rivers then said a quote that had me scratching my head.
“If you’re going to bring somebody in late in the year, he has to be a good guy,” Rivers said. “You can’t take the gamble with a bad guy in your locker room. It always upsets things when you bring in a new guy, even if it’s a guy that they want. Everybody still starts getting worried about minutes, so you need a guy that’s there just to work and if minutes come, they come.”
Doc, you remember signing the certifiable Stephon Marbury for last season’s stretch run, right?