ORLANDO, Fla.Points are starting to pile up for the Boston Celtics' second unit.
More important than that, the C's bench is developing into a difference-making unit that the players envisioned them becoming prior to the start of the season.
Boston's Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo all played a pivotal role in Boston's 116-110 overtime win over Orlando.
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But once again it was the Celtics' backups that propelled them to victory. They combined to score 36 points - the second straight game of 30-plus points from the second unit.
That kind of offensive production will bode well on nights like Sunday when the Celtics had to overcome some second-half struggles which turned a comfortable cushion into a game that was too close for comfort down the stretch and for most of the overtime session.
"It does build character and you do as a team, young and old, you do get better and you learn something from it," said Boston's Kevin Garnett.
Leandro Barbosa had 11 of his 15 points off the bench during his first three minutes on the floor. Jared Sullinger had 11 points along with six rebounds - all on the offensive glass.
And although Jeff Green only had one point scored, he too was among the players head coach Doc Rivers was pleased with following the C's victory.
"Jeff played great, he just didn't score," Rivers said. "He blocked shots, rebounded, just played a good floor game for us. He missed some makeable shots, but you can't do anything about that."
Boston's bench play was instrumental in their victory. Here are some other keys identified prior to the game and how they ultimately played out for the C's.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: There's always a delicate balance that has to be struck by the Celtics in generating points but not getting into a shoot-out. It would certainly bode well for Boston to take advantage of an Orlando team that's next-to-last in scoring (90.2) this season. But consider this: The Magic are 4-0 this season when scoring 100 or more points in a game.
WHAT WE SAW: Even though Boston was sporting a double-digit lead thorughout chunks of the second and third quarters, Orlando was way too comfortable offensively in getting the shots it wanted. That ultimately blew up in the C's face in the third quarter when the Magic mounted a rally and went up by as many as seven points. But Boston's defense clamped down, doubling up Orlando's scoring in the final 8:07 of the fourth quarter (14-7) before pulling it out in overtime by limiting Orlando to just 3-for-13 shooting.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs. Glen Davis: It's one thing for childhood friends to make it to the NBA. But to be traded for one another? Small world indeed. Bass' scoring numbers are down this season, but that's in part because of the C's need for him to do more work defensively. Meanwhile, Davis is getting plenty of shots which as the Celtics know all too well, isn't necessarily a good thing.
WHAT WE SAW: These childhood friends each had strong games for their respective teams. Bass' rebounding was a major factor for the Celtics who out-rebounded the Magic by nine. In addition to his team-high 12 rebounds, Bass also had 13 points and two assists. Davis did not shoot the ball particularly well (3-for-12), but had 15 points fueled by a 9-for-10 night from the free throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists to go along with three steals.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Green was impressive with a season-high 17 points against his former team (Oklahoma City) on Friday night. But can he do it against an opponent where there's no added motivation to play well? His versatility makes him a tough cover for the Magic, and you can bet the Celtics will do what they can to take advantage of this.
WHAT WE SAW: Green had a horrible night shooting the ball (he missed all nine of his shot attempts), but he nonetheless contributed to the victory with his defense and rebounding. "He ... played a good floor game for us," Rivers said. "He missed some makable shots, but you can't do anything about that."
STAT TO TRACK: One day of rest is apparently all the Boston Celtics need this season. They come into tonight's game with a record of 4-1 this season when there's a day off in between games. To give that some perspective, consider this: The 2007-2008 championship team won 75.4 percent (49-16 record) of its games played with one day off in between games.
WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics keep their one day off to win stretch of play, intact. With Sunday's win, Boston improves its record in games played with a day off prior to playing, to 5-1.