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Courtney Lee: Benched For Now

 

On the eve of game three tomorrow night in Boston, Doc Rivers said Courtney Lee, who sat all but four minutes of game two, will continue to ride the bench while Jordan Crawford sees regular floor time.

“I’m not playing him right now,” said Rivers, before the Celtics practiced in Waltham Thursday afternoon. “Right now, honestly, Jordan’s moved in front of him on the depth chart.”

Rivers spent much of his media time addressing Boston’s offensive collapses in the second half of both games in New York. According to Rivers, playing Crawford over Lee is part of his attempts to get better shot creation and ball movement.

Rivers: “Jordan is another guy who can give us what I just talked about offensively and for us our defense has been pretty good so if it struggles then Courtney’s back in.”

Lee was — at least publicly — taking it all in stride.

“It’s an adjustment,” said Lee. “Doc changes the lineup all throughout the year. It’s just one of those things, you just have to stay ready and professional. It was just one game, so you never know.”

CH: Rivers is dealing with imperfect options here. Lee is the bigger, better defender and a good option on the corner three-ball, but Crawford has the ability to get his own shot and puts points on the board more easily (if not always more efficiently).

However, after two consecutive second half collapses that featured Crawford, it’s reasonable to wonder if he will come around with consistent usage or if he’s really the solution here, over Terrence Williams, another guy who’s a threat to attack the rim. Despite his off-the-dribble game and underrated passing, Crawford is, at best, a questionable decision-maker. He’s also shooting only 1-5 from the arc and that non-threat contributes to the problems with floor spacing.

Would Lee or Williams be any better, in terms of their total impact? The Celtics are running out of time to find out.

We’ll have more on Boston’s offensive struggles later this evening.

  • The Cardinal

    Jason Terry is really the fly in the ointment here. While we wait for Terry to earn his keep with offense, he hasn't been any more efficient than Crawford, Lee, or Williams and is more of a defensive liability than any of those three. Furthermore, he is the biggest ball handling liability among our guards with the possible exception of Bradley. Understand, I'm not a Terry hater, I'm just calling it the way I see it, although we all know that hell will freeze over before Terry is relegated to DNP or mop up status..

    To continue calling it as I see it:
    1) Shavlik should be the first sub off the bench for KG;
    2) The second unit front line should consist of Randolph at the 5 and Wilcox at the 4, which is infinitely better than Bass at the 5 and Green at the 4 (and in a perfect world, we'd never see this combination again); and
    3) Crawford or Williams should start instead of Bradley, which would reduce the chance of Bradley getting in foul trouble before JR Smith even enters the game. This would also mean Bradley would come in for the primary purpose of guarding Smith – no ball handling, no worries about corner threes – just keep Smith from going off while he's in the game and make the occasional layup from a back cut – that's all I'm asking.

    .

  • Pauper

    My suggestions would be.

    1) Put Shavlik in and see if he gives us some energy and offensive rebounds. If he doesn't deliver quickly, you can take him out.
    2) Play Terrence Williams with some of the starters since he can get to the rim which helps KG and Bass, he's a better passer than AB, and he's more of a threat to hit the midrange jumper if playing pick and roll. Because he could be a bone head, you can give him a quick hook if he's not delivering.
    3) Get JT some pick and roll which is his strength instead of spot up. He's no Ray Allen so why are we trying to run Jesus Shuttesworth sets?
    5) Above all else, can we stop running Pierce ISOs above the free throw line and force feeding KG? They can get better opportunities with a creative motion offense but not with the same tired sets that the Knicks are all waiting for while the other 3 Celtics are twiddling their thumbs.

  • CG12

    I am unhappy with our current rotation. I would love to see Shavlik get some run so the C's can do something – anything – in the paint. Terry has been straight up killing us. I can understand that Doc is pissed at Courtney. His distinguishing trait in recent games has been a tendency to commit turnovers of the most painful variety imaginable. But he is the kind of player who isn't going to feed off that, he is going to go into a shell. That's why he has been playing so badly recently in the first place. And we need another defender at the guard spot. Avery can only guard one person. The second units that were working by playing fast at the end of the season have vanished, instead getting Pierce, Bass, KG or more likely two of them, none of whom are running the floor right now. I usually defend Doc's stubbornness, but I think that he is getting it wrong this time. It didn't work in Games 1 & 2, and it won't work in Games 3 & 4. I would love to be wrong, but I think we will see more of the same, with a decent chance of a sweep.

  • GymRat

    I think the whole approach is flawed here. I don't see why both Crawford and Lee can't get run…as well as T-Will and Shavlik. The problem is Doc is committed to this slow-down grind-out approach playing a short rotation which tires out the older players we have, limits the total shots we take, and puts a premium on shooting a high percentage – which we never do. It's absurd. We're the worst offensive rebounding team in the post season. Playing a slow pace and taking fewer shots knowing we won't rebound the ones we miss and thinking Crawford taking them instead of Lee is going to lead to a win is a mistake.

    55 total points in 4 quarters…and Crawford over Lee is his big adjustment…?

    NYK lost Rasheed and with Chandler limited, we are actually the bigger and more athletic team. We should load the front line with two rebounders and play small, running our guards non-stop from the oppening tip and rotating them to keep them fresh, playing everybody. How could NY stop this? Felton is slow. Kidd is slow and old. JR Smith struggles to play D and I'm not buying that Prigioni and Shumpert can keep up with T-Will, Crawford, Lee, AB and Jet. Most of all it would tire out Melo and Smith who would either be forced to run hard all game, or give up easy shots by taking plays off (which both likely would).

    Lee is one of the few guards on the team who can play both ways. The problem is Doc is trying to make all the guards into Ray Allen-type spot-up shooters who get looks off the assumption Pierce or KG can draw doubles in the post or ISO.

    IT ISN'T WORKING…

    IT'S NEVER WORKED…

    It only ever worked because Allen was such a deadly shooter. Guess what? Nobody on this team can do what he did. But they don't have to. They can do what he couldn't…which is play D…and create off the dribble and run the floor and finish.

    Lee is a racehorse. So is T-Will and Crawford loves to play fast and loose, and Jet loves to shoot off the dribble. Green is best in transition before the defense is set and a faster pace with more shots means our lack of rebounding isn't so detremental.

    I've had it with Doc. This decision cements my belief this team needs to make some big changes and the biggest of all is bringing in a new coach willing to create an offense capable of scoring more than 70 points a game. We've got a bigger, faster, younger, and more athletic and dynamic back court…but instead of setting the race horses free we are going to see the ball sit in PP and KG's hands till the clock ticks down to under 8 seconds and we get a turnover, a forced shot, or a contested spot up 3 from guys who can barely make that shot wide open.

    Doc cost us this series by refusing to play to our strengths and accept the big 3 playbook has to be burned.

    Rant over.

  • Agreewithallofyou

    I agree with everything posted here.
    Let Shavlik play. You can't get any rebounds from the bench.
    T-will is an athletic freak. he is one of the best passers on this team post-Rondo injury, and he can get to the rim. Pair T-will and Jeff Green together and the Defense will have to commit to one or the other on their threat to drive and finish at the rim. Shav will be there to clean up the mess. If they get hung up, you kick it out to Pierce or Jordan Crawford for an OPEN look.

    Not that hard.

  • Pauper

    If we go best players against best player which is grind it out slow pace ISOs we will lose! Instead of trying to win a Pierce/KG is better than Carmelo/JR Smith battle (which they aren't at this points of their careers) battle, I don't get why we aren't trying to turn the game into a our team is better than yours battle. With Chandler hurt, I feel confident our players below the top two are much better than their players below the top two. Play to our strength not theirs!

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