C's finding out more to Barbosa than offense


BOSTONDoc Rivers has seen Leandro Barbosa play for years, and his assessment of him wasn't all that different than most coaches.

The dude can get you buckets ... quickly.

But having had a chance to coach him for about a month now, Rivers has stumbled across something that makes his signing even more special.

"He has that reputation of being an offensive player," Rivers said after Boston's 108-100 win over Oklahoma City. "What we have found since getting him, he's a heck of a defensive player."


The Brazilian blur can 'D' up and down 3s too?

"He has the ability to put pressure on the ball," added Rivers. "That's something we didn't know."

During his early moments with the Celtics, Barbosa far too often gambled defensively, going for steals and reaching in that frequently put him and the C's at a disadvantage defensively.

But the last few games, Barbosa's defense has improved which is a testament to him picking up the C's defensive game plan better and familiarizing himself better with his role in that system.

Although he didn't score a single point in Friday night's win, Barbosa's role in what was a much-improved defensive showing by the C's, was important.

Like Rivers, Barbosa's teammates have also been pleasantly surprised at the contributions made defensively by the last guy to join the C's roster this season.

"I just want to help the team," Barbosa said. "Whatever they need me to do, I want to do that."

Boston forward Jeff Green has spent the bulk of his career with Oklahoma City. So he has seen plenty of Barbosa whose best years in the league came with the Phoenix Suns.

Like Rivers, he too has been pleasantly surprised at how Barbosa's defense has helped the C's this season.

"He (Barbosa) has active hands and he's out there, he's a pest," Green said.

And if all goes according to plan, he'll be joined by an even bigger defensive pest when Avery Bradley returns to the lineup next month after fully recovering from surgery to both of his shoulders.

"Our team is gonna be trouble when Avery gets back," Green said. "That's an amazing duo in the backcourt with them two."

Kevin Garnett sees Barbosa's play defensively as him essentially embracing the culture that is Boston Celtics basketball.

Looking at the teams Barbosa has played for in the past, most either focused more on scoring or had a roster in which his defense wasn't necessarily something that was required to be played at a high level.

"What stood out about him is the competitor that he is," Garnett said. "I don't think he's been in a situation like coming here with defensive players, defensive mindset, being a defensive team. He's bought in. He's a team guy, good teammate. In order for us to be anything, he's going to have to bring that."

Contact Us