Boston Celtics: Starters

Importance of starters

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
6:15
PM ET
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireRajon Rondo and the starters need to shoulder the load against Miami.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Celtics' reserves scored a total of 60 points and sacrificed what felt like just as many of the starters' leads over the course of Boston's opening round four-game sweep of the New York Knicks, leading to a wave of speculation as to how much they'll help the Celtics throughout their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Miami Heat.

But prior to Boston's practice Thursday at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint, Celtics coach Doc Rivers halted the speeding train suggesting the bench will be the deciding factor against the Heat.

"[The bench is] important, but at the end of the day, guys, starters are the key," said Rivers. "Your starters play well -- your bench obviously has to give you help, and I think we have enough guys -- but make no mistake, [when] the starters are playing well, you have a very good chance at winning playoff games."

The Celtics experienced that firsthand in their first round victory over New York, in which each member of the quintet of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O'Neal shot at least 45 percent from the field and was very productive in his respective area of expertise.

Rondo was back to pushing the pace and averaged 12 assists per game; Garnett averaged a series-high 11.3 rebounds per game and helped anchor Boston's back defensive live; Allen shot a glossy 65.4 percent from 3-point nation; Pierce averaged his expected 22 points per game and helped to limit Carmelo Anthony to 37 percent shooting for the series; and O'Neal was a defensive force, as he blocked and altered shots and drew charges on a consistent and game-changing basis.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9