Since the All-Star break the Boston Celtics have been a different team. One of the reasons for that is the play of their bench. It was evident in their last game as head coach Brad Stevens started Shane Larkin for an injured Kyrie Irving. The reason simple, he didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry of his bench. All season certain players such as Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, and others have excelled at different times. Now they are all playing well at the same time and are a force to be reckoned with. Boston has the potential to have the best bench in the NBA and this part of the season will define if they are or not.
The Celtics bench is deep for many reasons. Other than Greg Monroe, everyone on the bench can make three pointers. On Sunday against the Rockets they scored 67 points. They also went 8-12 from three point range and shot 56.8 percent from the field. Before the All-Star break the Celtics bench had never scored more than sixty points. In five games since the break, they’ve scored fifty plus points in four of those games. The three main contributors in that stretch have been Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. All three are averaging ten plus points, and newly acquired Greg Monroe had his best game as a Celtics as he had eighteen points against the Rockets. It showed how dynamic of a bench the Celtics could have.
This season both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have had stretches of brilliance. They have also had stretches where they struggled. When the Celtics two stars have been brilliant, the team has not been able to come together. With Hayward out for the season they will need everyone to be at their best. The players on the Celtics bench have always had a high ceiling. Now that the pieces are coming together they are showing why this team could be truly special. Daniel Theis has shown that he could be a starter in his rookie season. Terry Rozier is known for his offense, but also has improved defensively making him a dangerous two way player. This Celtics bench has players with different skill sets. It has been Head Coach Brad Stevens job to make them valuable on both ends. His patience has payed off, and rather than having people talk about their potential, they’re fulfilling it.
There is still many games left in the NBA season. If this team is to make a championship run it cant solely rely on its starters. Kyrie and Horford are very good players, but the Celtics will need more than just them to beat the Warriors or Rockets. They will need their bench to perform how they are now. Not just as individuals, but as a group. If the Celtics can do this, then against top teams Irving and Horford won’t need to be at their best. If the Celtics can do this then the playoffs for Boston could be special this year.