"Benchless" C's Not Hurting for Depth


"Benchless" C's Not Hurting for Depth

They were ripped and ridiculed in the press before they even played a game. They were relegated to a status so far behind their starrier mates that it was hard to see them through the glare of attention being paid to others.

But more than halfway through the season, the Celtics' reserves are proving themselves more than worthy of their roles on an NBA-best 36-8 team.

``People were talking that our team was just me and Ray (Allen) and Kevin (Garnett), but from the first time we started practicing, we knew we had guys on the bench that could play,'' Paul Pierce said. ``We knew we had guys we could count on.''

The additions of James Posey and Eddie House have been huge, particularly since the former is getting over a late-December finger injury that affected him more than many realized. But holdovers like Tony Allen and Leon Powe, as well as rookie Glen Davis, have all made key contributions in wins.

Looking at his pine people as a whole, coach Doc Rivers said, ``They're tough - maybe not the most talented group, but together they become pretty talented with their effort. And they're mentally tough. Our bench is really growing, and I'm really proud of them.''

As the season has progressed, Rivers has been more willing to give minutes to the bench, and the result has meant more rest for the C's veterans.

``I think the guys have stepped up,'' Ray Allen said. ``We've had a lot of different guys play well for us in a lot of games. We can say everybody's contributed for us. ``When you have guys coming in and playing well, it helps their confidence. That could be a big factor for us as we get to the playoffs.'' According to Pierce, the way the roster has jumped into the breach during injuries and illness has been indicative of its ability.

``We've got a lot of depth,'' the captain said. ``All year long, we've got different guys who are going to step up at different times. We're going to continue to fight and be engaged every game.

``Hopefully with this four-day break (before the C's next game at Cleveland Tuesday), we can get some guys back. Hopefully we can make it through All-Star break without any more injuries. But regardless of the injuries, there's no excuses. We've got guys who are more than capable.''

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