Marcus Improving Consistency at the Point

Marcus Improving Consistency at the Point

January 14, 2004


MILWAUKEE - In recent games, Marcus Banks has earned the confidence and praise of Celtics coach Jim O'Brien, not an easy task for a rookie point guard. Banks, who scored 10 points and had 4 assists in last night's loss, is averaging 5.0 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game.

O'Brien has been particularly impressed by Banks's consistency and sound decision-making. For example, in the second quarter, Banks pushed the Celtics upcourt on the break, assessed his options, then pulled up for a 13-footer that broke a 31-31 tie. O'Brien shouted from the sideline, "That's good basketball, Marcus."

   "There was a time when he would play a good game and maybe have three games that weren't so pleasing," said O'Brien. "Then, it was one [good game] and two games weren't so pleasing. Now, it's like one and one. If it can start going three really good games and one mediocre game, which will happen . . .

"I think his growth is about what you'd expect with the minutes that he's been allotted. We're very pleased with him. As the year goes along, I fully expect him to be more and more of a factor in different situations."

Banks is growing more comfortable in the Celtics' system.

"I'm just trying to move on up and get things done," he said. "I'm just trying to find my way around.

"It's a lot of little things [O'Brien] wants me to get down that's on defense, passing the ball, finding my shot when it's there, just basically taking my time out there on the court." Bucks have value

It may surprise some that Milwaukee has a 21-17 record and crept into fourth place in the Central Division with last night's win. But O'Brien was well aware of how tough the Bucks can be under new coach Terry Porter.

"I'd have to say that they are not a surprise over the last month," said O'Brien. "I think everybody thought that with [Sam] Cassell leaving and maybe the change [in coaches] maybe people were questioning where they would be.

"But Coach Porter is a very defensive-minded guy and a real student of the game and he has a strong staff. And they have guys that really seem to like to play together. They're playing hard. They have good depth.

"I was just telling our team that I really think they are going to continue to be one of the top teams in the East." Feeling fine, thanks

Both Paul Pierce and Banks were fully recovered from minor injuries sustained in Houston. Pierce was not bothered by the nick on the bottom of his right foot that he got when he stepped on some glass after the game. Meanwhile, Banks popped his right shoulder out of its socket at practice Monday when he made contact with a teammate coming off a screen. Before trainer Ed Lacerte could see what happened, Banks had popped the shoulder back into place. The injury "stung for 15 or 20 minutes," he said. "I was kind of born double-jointed. That's all. It's not a big deal."

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