Practice notebook: Sets for JET
WALTHAM, Mass. -- In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Boston Celtics returned to the practice court on Thursday afternoon, where Rajon Rondo dubbed himself a "sore loser" and triggered some extended conversation on body language. Here are a few more notes from pre-practice access at the team's training facility at HealthPoint:
* MORE PLAYS FOR TERRY: Celtics coach Doc Rivers finally got his wish to move Jason Terry back to the second unit with the return of Avery Bradley on Wednesday night, but lamented not taking advantage of that more during the team's loss to the Grizzlies.
"I was disappointed last night in me and the team. When Jason Terry is on the floor, you gotta run plays for Jason Terry," said Rivers. "What else would you have him on the floor for? To play defense? That’s something we talk about all the time and it’s not getting through. I told him last night, I’ll be the play-caller for that [second unit] for a while now. Because whenever Jason Terry comes on the floor, we should run plays for Jason Terry. And it took us until eight minutes left in the fourth quarter to realize that last night. And that’s too late. Then during the stretch he was on [the floor] in the first half, he was getting scored on and didn’t touch the ball. If you can’t get offense out of him, why is he out there?"
Rivers admitted that having to shorten Bradley's minutes in his season debut messed with the ability to keep a ball-handler on the floor with Terry at all times, but believes that will be smoothed out as Bradley's minutes get stretched out.
Expect the Celtics to run Terry off more screens moving forward. According to Synergy Sports data, only 19.2 percent of Terry's plays this season have come off screens (where he's shooting a robust 49.2 percent in those situations and averaging a solid 1.045 points per play). For means of comparison, Ray Allen attempted 35.9 percent of his total plays last season in Boston coming off screens (shooting 45.5 percent and averaging 1.08 points per play).
* JUST WINS, BABY: While admitting he's not thrilled to be stuck in a four-game skid, Rivers said he's actually more unnerved by Boston's lack of a prolonged winning streak this season.
"The bottom line is, what’s more troubling for me right now is that we haven’t won more than [three] in a row," said Rivers. "To me, that bothers me more, in some ways, than losing four in a row. I don’t know why it does, but it does. For me, it points to what I’ve been saying all year with our consistency, we just haven’t been able to stay with what we’ve done to win games and then do it over again. We’re struggling with that in games right now, so we just have to get better."
Rivers did admit to seeing encouraging signs even in defeat against the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
"It’s funny, I’ve watched the tape twice, and there’s a lot of good things last night that got lost," said Rivers. "I thought our defensive energy was back and we did a lot of good things. If you had told me before the game that we were going to hold Zach Randolph and [Marc] Gasol to what we held them to, then I would have said there was no way we were going to lose that game. Yet, we lost the game. There’s good things, there’s steps I thought we took in a positive way."
NO ROTATION CRUNCH: When the Celtics reversed their fortunes last season, Rivers clamped down on the rotation (along with shuffling Brandon Bass onto the first unit). He doesn't expect to shorten his rotation any time soon though with a full 82-game campaign to navigate.
"We’re not going to do that, there’s just too many games," said Rivers. "I’ll do that later in the year. That creates its own problems. The famous Chuck Daly line: 'Your main five, they love you; the other seven hate you.' And I don’t’ care about that, but it’s too early. It would clearly help us, but I’m not going to do that."
A more defined rotation should emerge with the return of Bradley, allowing Terry and Courtney Lee to settle into preferred second-unit roles. But point guard Rajon Rondo said he leaves the rotation decisions to Rivers, suggesting he'll adapt to whatever the coaching staff puts on the floor.
"That's up to Doc. I think I can play with anybody, so the rotation kind of doesn't matter for me," said Rondo. "It's just guys out there, I know where they're going to be in certain positions when they run the floor with me and just knowing what sets to call."
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