|Leandro Barbosa gives Doc Rivers a ‘feel-good’ moment in loss||10.31.12 at 3:56 pm ET|
No one saw this coming this quick.
Leandro Barbosa was signed on Oct. 18 as another scoring threat off the bench who is also capable of handling the ball when Rondo is not on the floor.
On Tuesday night, it was not Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger or Jeff Green who was big off the Celtics bench. All three frankly struggled. It was Barbosa – the Brazilian beast – who exploded for 16 points in 16 minutes, making six of his eight shots from the floor and running with Rondo in the fast break.
“He was terrific,” Doc Rivers said. “If you get into a scoring contest and Barbosa’s on the floor, you’re going to feel pretty good about it. that’s how he’s played, that’s how he’s used to playing. I love him, the way he attacks. He’s clearly not scared of the moment. He bailed us out. We got back in that game down the stretch and it was because Barbosa was on the floor.”
Indeed, Barbosa entered the game with 16.1 seconds left in the third quarter and played the entire fourth quarter, leading the Celtics from 19 points down to just a four-point deficit, 111-107, with two minutes left. Barbosa scored all 16 of his points in the final quarter, making quite the impression.
And it also creates quite the decision for Rivers to consider. Green played 18 minutes in the first three quarters but when Kevin Garnett came in for Green with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter, making just three free throws and missing all four field goal attempts. Terry wasn’t much better on this night, going 2-for-7 from the field with eight points in 28 minutes.
But read between the lines in what Rivers said about Terry and apply it to the bench overall, and you get an idea of the patience Rivers plans to apply early in the season while he finds the right mixes and matches off the bench.
“Not great but there’s 81 more,” Rivers said. “He’ll make up for it.”
|Leandro Barbosa finally practices with Celtics||10.24.12 at 4:01 pm ET|
“It was a good practice, and I got to get to know the plays, the defensive standpoint and all the things that they’ve been doing in training camp when I wasn’t here, so I think it was OK,” Barbosa said. “The coaches have been giving me a lot of attention. They’ve been helping me a lot. I think this is very important for me in the beginning, but also the players have been helping me too.”
Conditioning-wise, Barbosa said he felt fine throughout a practice that ran ran roughly three hours.
“I wasn’t playing that much when I was back in Brazil, but I think I’m OK so far for what we did today,” he said. “[Practice today] was long, but we didn’t go up and down. I think tomorrow we’ll go up and down. I think day-by-day I will be fine. I think I’ll pick it up little by little.”
The 29-year-old used to average around 30 minutes a game back in the day for the Suns but averaged 19.8 minutes in 22 games down the stretch last season with the Pacers. He knows that he might not get major minutes for the C’s, but he’s comfortable with whatever workload he’s given.
“I’m OK with whatever,” Barbosa said. “Whatever minutes I have on the court, I’m going to do my best to try to help my teammates, but if I don’t get on the court, it’s fine for me too. As long as the team is successful, I’ll be happy.”
|Introducing the Celtics’ backup point guards, all of them||10.22.12 at 2:16 pm ET|
Over the past five seasons the following players have attempted to fill the role of Rajon Rondo‘s backup: Eddie House, Sam Cassell, Stephon Marbury, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley.
Also appearing in minor roles: E’Twaun Moore, Carlos Arroyo, Gabe Pruitt and the immortal Lester Hudson. (Oliver Lafayette never played in an actual game, but go ahead and throw his name in there as well along with Jamar Smith.)
“We’ve never really had, like, a true backup point,” said Doc Rivers. Of the dozen or so players listed above only two players — Marbury and Cassell — were anything like true point guards, but they sure have tried almost everybody else on the combo guard platter.
This year figures to be different. No, they still don’t have a true backup point guard, but what Rivers does have are four guards who can all handle the ball.
“I like it,” the coach said. “I like that there are multiple guys. Instead of trying to force and find a guy who’s a point guard, just find two guys who can dribble.”
An example happened in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Knicks. With Rondo off the floor, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee were on the court together. In Rivers words, the two were “interchangeable.” If one of them was pressured in the backcourt, the other one brought the ball up the floor and initiated the offense. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics add Leandro Barbosa to backcourt mix||10.17.12 at 5:04 pm ET|
It was only a matter of time before the Celtics made a move for a veteran guard and in Leandro Barbosa they landed the best of a thin lot. To be sure, Barbosa has fallen off from his peak seasons with the Suns when he averaged around 20 points per 36 minutes and registered a PER of 19.4 in 2009 with a True Shooting percentage of .588.
The last two years have not been as kind, however. He was limited by a wrist injury in 2009-10 and then traded to Toronto, where he had more injury problems that affected his shooting, as well as his overall game. Barbosa was then traded again, this time at the deadline to the Pacers, where he saw action in 22 games and struggled in the playoffs, particularly against the Heat.
Barbosa did open some eyes with a strong performance during the Olympics when he averaged 16 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point range for Brazil, and while his days as a change-of-pace sixth man may very well be behind him, he’ll be joining a Celtics team that simply needs backcourt depth.
Barbosa isn’t a true point, but he can handle the backup job behind Rajon Rondo. He’s not the scorer that Jason Terry is, but he can create his own shot. He’s not nearly the defender that Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley are, but unlike Bradley, he’s ready to start the season.
As a fourth or fifth guard he’s more ready than Jamar Smith, who was waived on Tuesday to make room along with Dionte Christmas, and in keeping with the other offseason moves engineered by team president Danny Ainge he offers versatility and some scoring punch.
With Barbosa on board for the veteran minimum, the Celtics have 14 players on guaranteed contracts. Second-round pick Kris Joseph is the likely candidate for the final spot and they will just barely fit under the hard tax line imposed by luxury tax apron. In other words, this is likely Ainge’s final piece to the 2012-13 puzzle.
Barbosa’s not a game-changer, but the Celtics are a little better than they were at the start of the week and a lot deeper in the backcourt.
|Reports: Barbosa traded to Toronto, off Celtics’ radar||07.12.10 at 9:18 am ET|
The Celtics will have to look elsewhere as they try to reload their bench for another run at the NBA finals next seasons after multiple reports have Suns guard Leandro Barbosa being traded to the Raptors as part of a three-player deal that would send swingman Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix. Barbosa had been rumored as a potential trade target for the C’s this offseason, but that appears to be off the table now. Barbosa averaged 9.5 points as a backup last season and could have replaced the recently departed Tony Allen as the first guard off the Boston bench. Instead, the Celtics will now need to lure in other trade partners to fill that role, using the not-yet-retired Rasheed Wallace‘s contract as bait.