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At home with the bench 06.15.10 at 9:51 pm ET
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LOS ANGELES — The role of the bench may be the single biggest factor in home court advantage in this NBA finals series.

In Boston, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace fed off the TD Garden crowd. It paid huge dividends in Games 4 and 5.

Both Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers have the luxury of having key players coming off their benches.

For the Celtics, everyone knows about the production of Davis, especially in wins in Games 4 and 5. Robinson was huge in Game 4 as well. Rasheed Wallace’s role took on a whole new meaning with an apparent right knee injury to starter Kendrick Perkins with 5:30 left in the first quarter Tuesday night.

For the Lakers, they have Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar.

Now with the series finishing in Los Angeles, the advantage has shifted by to the purple and gold.

At first glance, the Lakers domination in the first half of Game 6 seemed to render the bench moot. But upon a much closer look, the stat sheet revealed the Lakers got 15 points from their bench. The Celtics, a big goose egg. That 15-0 margin led to a 51-31 halftime Lakers cushion.

And with the Lakers building a 22-point lead, Jackson was afforded the luxury of not having to tax his starters, saving them for a Game 7.

“I think that the bench performance has to prove itself,” Jackson said prior to Game 6. “[They’ve] got to go out there. But in the same breath, benches play better on our home court than they do on the road. It’s like, okay, they certainly have to have a chance to play, and if they’re playing well, they’ll stay.”

Rivers admitted he has to be a little more careful with his bench at Staples Center.

“Well, you hope not, but you’re prepared to,” Rivers said of shortening the exposure of the bench on the road. “I think [Jackson] is right. I think role players tend to play better at home. I don’t think that’s anything new. We knew that.

“We do have a different cast of players with Rasheed being a veteran and Nate and Baby are so emotional they could possibly play well on the road. You just never know what you’re going to get from them. But that is true, you do prepare yourself to extend your starters’ minutes on the road. You always do.”

Read More: Bench, Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals
Doc: We need more from our bench 05.03.10 at 1:20 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — In Game 1, every starter except for Kendrick Perkins played at least 38 minutes and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo both logged over 42. Part of that was foul trouble. Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis both picked up three fouls early in the first half and part of that was the ongoing production problems with the second unit.

That has to change in Game 2.

“You don’€™t do a lot of rotation changes, but you do make some tweaks as far as what you run on the offense end and defensively,” Doc Rivers said at the team’s shootaround. “Honestly, we’€™ve got to get more out of our bench. The guys are on the floor too long. We just have to get more play out of our bench. Our bench has to come through for us.

“They have to play,” Rivers continued. “We’€™re not going to win this series playing five guys 45 minutes a night. It’€™s not going to happen. I believe in our bench and I think they’€™ll come through, but we need them to.”

There will be three days between Games 2 and 3, so that does leave an opening if Rivers feels the need to extend minutes, but that was also part of the rationale for working the starters so hard in Game 1 when the Celtics built an 11-point lead only to wind up losing by eight.

“We could extend minutes tonight, but we did just play on Saturday.,” Rivers said. “The break could go either way. If you win tonight you’€™d like to play tomorrow if you could. It does change your thinking a little bit honestly with the long lay off.”

Rivers indicated that he would like to get Wallace more involved in the post (as well as Paul Pierce), but don’t expect any major changes.

“The chess match comes when you think you’€™re overmatched as far as talent on the floor,” Rivers said. “Then you have to really try out of the box things. I don’€™t think either guy thinks that in this case.”

Read More: Bench, Rasheed Wallace,
Bench blues 05.18.09 at 12:56 am ET
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It was the unit that carried them time after time in this playoff run.

But on Sunday night, the Celtics‘ bench looked like the regulars — drained and empty at the end.

Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine and Stephon Marbury combined for three field goals in 12 attempts, totaling eight points.

“Yes, did we struggle off the bench? Yes,” Scalabrine said. “I don’t know if it’s like you count on us. It’s like, once again, I always keep saying, the guys who make plays for us, they make plays for us and it’s our job to just knock shots down.”

On a night when it looked like Paul Pierce, Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo had hit the wall collectively, the bench needed to be there. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bench, Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs
Game 7: The return of the bench 05.02.09 at 9:30 pm ET
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So, who had the Celtics bench in the X-factor pool? In the first half the much-maligned reserve unit shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range to score 18 points and completely turn the game around with their defensive energy, particularly from Stephon Marbury and Eddie House.

House picked up three steals and Marbury dogged Derrick Rose into having a scoreless quarter. The Bulls bench, namely Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich missed all five of their shots from the floor and have not been a factor.

Even Mikki Moore contributed with a timely charge, four points and two rebounds. The Bulls were 3-for-14 from the floor in the second quarter and that had a lot to do with the defensive effort from the second unit.

Read More: Bench, Bulls, Celtics,
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