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5 Boston Celtics Who Will Help Team to a Strong Finish

Nick LantzCorrespondent IIMarch 5, 2013

5 Boston Celtics Who Will Help Team to a Strong Finish

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    Now fully engaged in the second half of the NBA season, it is time for the Boston Celtics to prepare for a strong finish over the next two months.

    If the season ended today, the Celtics would finish No. 7 in the Eastern Conference. However, the Atlantic Division crown is not too far out of sight.

    The C's are only five games behind the New York Knicks in the division standings. The Knicks have been slowing down lately, and Boston can take full advantage of this and make up some ground.

    With a mix of veterans and young players, the Celtics are motivated to make a run through the playoffs with the loss of Rajon Rondo.

    The following players will be the most important factors during the Celtics' second half of the season into the playoffs.

Paul Pierce

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    Since Rajon Rondo was knocked out for the season, Paul Pierce has shown that he is the leader of the Boston Celtics.

    Pierce has been the most important player on this roster. His veteran scoring ability and leadership have helped keep the C's a winning club.

    Down the stretch it will be "The Truth" who leads the team to a strong finish. The 35-year-old forward has a lot on his shoulders right now, but he is still as focused as ever.

    He is putting up another solid year averaging 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.2 steals.

    The majority of the team's offense has had to flow through Pierce with Rondo out. Pierce has been huge, becoming more of a distributor in Rondo's absence.

    Pierce will continue to make big shots and distribute the ball as Boston makes a championship push.

Jason Terry

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    Jason Terry came to Boston to win a championship this season, and if Boston does, Terry will be a major reason.

    With Rondo out, Terry has been forced to play more point guard than he usually does.

    He has been able to start and come off the bench for Doc Rivers' squad this year. Terry will need to be ready to hit some big shots when the pressure is on for the Celtics.

    Terry has been the main three-point shooter for Boston. He has hit 36.5 percent of his attempts from behind the arc this season.

    The savvy veteran must be a serious threat from deep down the stretch for the C's.

    If Terry and Pierce can step up under pressure and hit big shots, which they both have done many times before, the Celtics will finish well.

Avery Bradley

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    It seems as though Avery Bradley is slowly starting to understand his role with the Celtics.

    Bradley is the floor general of this Celtics team with Rondo sidelined. At times he has struggled with his offense, but the young guard is steadily improving.

    He was forced to play more minutes in February (31.7 per game) than he did in January (25 per game), his first month back from shoulder surgery.

    Lately Bradley has been doing a better job with his shot selection. In his last six games, the former Texas Longhorn has been shooting over 48 percent.

    Bradley brings quickness and defensive intensity to the Boston backcourt. He will continue to learn how to take full advantage of those skills, giving the Celtics a much-needed lift.

Jeff Green

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    Jeff Green has been very impressive for the Celtics, especially during the month of February.

    Green has finally hit his stride and is playing some of the best basketball of his short career. Last month, Green scored 31 points in a 113-88 thrashing of the Phoenix Suns.

    In February he averaged 15.3 points per game on over 51-percent shooting. He has also been shooting the ball tremendously well from outside, hitting over 41 percent of his three-pointers during 12 games last month.

    Green has been a huge spark for the Celtics off the bench. He can give Pierce the chance to rest, while coming in and throwing down electric slams and hitting from three-point land.

    He has also been great on defense averaging 1.7 blocks in February, and starting March off with three blocks in a 94-86 win over the Golden State Warriors.

    The emergence of Green will propel the Celtics to an improved second half of the season.

Kevin Garnett

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    When the playoffs roll around, Kevin Garnett becomes an animal.

    Before the playoffs come, KG and the Celtics need to get rolling down the stretch in order to end up with a favorable first-round matchup.

    Doc Rivers knows well that Garnett needs some rest so he is available for the postseason. However, KG always wants to be out on the floor, and he knows how important finishing the season well is.

    Garnett is in his 18th season and is not the player that he once was. With that said, he is still very capable of playing physical and knocking down the mid-range jumpers.

    If Garnett can make the most of his minutes during the season's second half, rebounding and providing scoring down low, then the Celtics will be in good shape.

    The Celtics will be a very dangerous team if they get hot down the stretch.

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