PHILADELPHIA - Jiri Welsch smiles a lot more these days. Although the
versatile forward maintains it doesn't matter whether he starts or comes
off the bench, Welsch looks more comfortable as a member of the
starting five, playing alongside Paul Pierce, Gary Payton, Mark Blount,
and Raef LaFrentz. Celtics coach Doc Rivers inserted Welsch into the starting lineup against Seattle Sunday.
last night's 25-minute effort in the 110-97 loss to the 76ers, Welsch
is averaging 27.3 minutes and 10.7 points as a starter. He is also 12
for 21 (57 percent) from the floor.
feels good to be out there more and playing more, maybe even it's the
guys from the starting lineup," said Welsch, who finished with 7 points
last night. "I'm just glad to be out there more and be part of what
we're doing right now. I guess it was a [good idea to make a change]
because Coach decided to do that. He obviously saw something that might
work out for us, so he tried it.
don't feel like anything extra or anything in particular is asked of
me. I'm just really trying to do the same thing - playing good defense,
be active on offense. Obviously, I'm out there with Paul as our first
option, with Gary who has the ball in his hands a lot. So, I'm just
trying to feed off of them. It's more comfortable."
Ricky Davis was given the starting nod at small forward, many wondered
how Davis, Pierce, and Payton would coexist. But the switch was made
because the second unit lacked an offensive spark.
Davis certainly provided a spark last night, leading the team with 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting in 29 mminutes.
asked if he could be an asset off the bench, Davis added, "Yeah,
definitely. It's a good thing. I can keep the bench up, get the second
squad going. But it doesn't really matter as long as I'm out there
playing. I'm just focusing in on coming in and playing my game, trying
to get victories."
Time of his life
may have been only a minute in a demoralizing loss to Indiana, but to
Justin Reed it might as well have been 48 minutes in the NBA Finals. The
second-round pick out of Mississippi was thrilled to get his first NBA
action against the Pacers Tuesday night. Reed was activated in place of
Tom Gugliotta, who has a sore lower back.
a dream situation," said Reed. "I've been blessed enough to get to this
level. Now, I'm a part of a team. So, my role is to be ready whenever
they call upon me. A situation came [against Indiana] where they needed
me and I got a chance to play. My mom and everybody was excited. The
little time I played, I enjoyed it. It felt like I played the whole
should be no surprise about what Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien thought
won the game. Defense. Defense. Defense. It just goes to show some
coaches never change. "I thought we flat-out got after it defensively. I
think the defense won it for us. Our defense was anchored by ball
pressure, but we had 27 deflections. Andre Iguodala had 10 and that's
extraordinary. I thought it was a great defensive team effort." . . .
performance on the glass has been the best barometer of the outcome of
the game. In Boston's four wins prior to last night's result, they were
averaging 42.5 rebounds and outrebounding their opponents by 7.7 boards.
In the Celtics' five losses, they were averaging 37.2 rebounds and were outrebounded by 6.2 boards per game. The Celtics
are 4-1 when they outrebound opponents. Last night? Both teams had 41
rebounds . . . With Kansas alums LaFrentz and Pierce and former Saint
Joseph's star Delonte West sharing the same locker room, there was
plenty of playful ribbing about Tuesday night's Hawks-Jayhawks contest.
Kansas routed Saint Joseph's, 91-51, which prompted LaFrentz to comment,
"Forty points is about right." . . . It's hard to miss Eagles wide
receiver Terrell Owens and last night was no exception. Owens entered
the Wachovia Center to a standing ovation midway through the second
quarter before taking a front-row seat at center court.