Daniels, Pavlovic push on
Celtics reserves make most of their chances
During the Celtics’ run to the 2007-08 NBA title, Glen Davis and Leon Powe developed a mutually beneficial relationship as they battled each other for playing time.
Coach Doc Rivers has been reminded of that this season watching Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic prepare for games.
“They push each other,’’ Rivers said after the Celtics’ 78-66 win over Miami Tuesday night. “And that could be good for us.’’
Daniels and Pavlovic are unlikely to figure prominently in the playoffs, considering the development of Avery Bradley. But with the status of Ray Allen (ankle) undetermined for Thursday’s regular-season finale against Milwaukee, Daniels, Pavlovic, and E’Twaun Moore could have another chance to audition.
Pavlovic made the most of his opportunity in the second half against the Heat, scoring all of his 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
“I started kind of slow in the first half,’’ Pavlovic said. “Doc was on me about that. He told me just to play to it. I took a couple bad shots in the first half. I just came out in the second half and played as hard as I could defensively, and whenever I had an open shot, I just took it.
“I’m just going to get out there and play as hard as I can defensively. I know we are down a couple guys, but in the playoffs, it’s not going to be like that. So I just get out there and play my role, whatever it is that night.
“If we play like this and stick together, that’s how we’ve got to play every night. We can’t just give up because we start slow, we have to go out and play hard like we did in the second half.’’
Unlike the 2007-08 season, there have been few practice sessions, limiting the development of the Celtic reserves. But Daniels, Pavlovic, and others arrive several hours before game time for one-on-one games and shooting drills.
“We play together in practice the whole season,’’ Pavlovic said. “And we know each other and what we can do. And that shows on the court.’’
The Celtics (38-27) are vying with Atlanta (39-26) for home-court advantage in the first round. The Celtics won the season series with the Hawks and could gain home court with a victory over the Bucks and a Dallas win over Atlanta.
Kevin Garnett (hip flexor), Mickael Pietrus (knee), and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) could return to the lineup but Greg Stiemsma (feet) will likely be held out.
Rivers chose to err on the side of rest and recuperation in the final week of the regular season, but the Celtics’ second unit has proven capable of producing results, with players pushing each other to a higher level.
“That’s everyone in here,’’ Daniels said. “We all stay on each other, tell each other that we should be doing more here and there. We all stay on each other - it’s the competitive nature of all of us.
“Just trying to make sure I’m ready whenever my number’s called - staying after late, getting a workout in, coming in early, getting a workout in. Just taking advantage of the time I get out there.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.