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Celtics Notebook

Bench famished in feast

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / April 24, 2011

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NEW YORK — Coming off another tough night, Glen Davis looked like he could use anything the doctor ordered. So Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered up.

“I told him I’d buy him dinner,’’ Rivers said. “It put a big smile on his face.’’

Davis scored 4 points and grabbed four rebounds Friday in the Celtics’ 113-96 Game 3 win over the Knicks. But it was another quiet night and another relatively hollow effort from the bench.

“I told him we need him,’’ Rivers said. “He can play better. I could help him play better. I told him I was going to keep trying to do that as long as he kept his end up.

“When you struggle and play bad, you’re down on yourself. It’s human nature. He’ll be fine.’’

The Celtics haven’t had a breakout bench performance yet. In Game 3, they were startlingly dependent on their starters, who scored 100 points.

“I think they’re thinking too much,’’ Paul Pierce said of the second unit. “Instead of going out there, playing with reckless abandon and playing scrappy, they’re trying not to mess up. I think if they just play hard and play defense, rebound the ball, be a unit that gives us energy, they’ll be fine. But when they get to thinking about where to be offensively and defensively, they get really hesitant and passive and that’s not a recipe for success.’’

Rivers uses one of Pat Riley’s rules when it comes to too much brainpower.

“Thinking hurts the team,’’ Rivers joked.

One positive sign was Jeff Green, who scored 9 points, sneaking under the rim and finding layups, but also clamping down on the defensive end.

“Defensively, he was terrific,’’ Rivers said.

Sweep dreams Last season, when the Celtics went up three games on the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals, Pierce — or at least a ghost Twitter account — set off a small controversy when it posted the line, “Anybody got a broom?’’

It turned out the Celtics didn’t need one. It took them six games to knock off the Magic.

The Celtics haven’t swept a team in the new Big Three Era. Their last series sweep was in 1992 when the original Big Three had a three-game sweep of Indiana in the first round.

“I’ve never been part of a sweep,’’ Pierce said. “But I don’t like to think about that stuff. We want to close out this series, that’s on everybody’s mind. But they’re not going to give it to us.’’

The Celtics got a small scare from the Magic, who won Game 4 at TD Garden in overtime then went back to Orlando to win Game 5. That memory, along with the still-fresh reminder the Bruins provided by blowing a three-game lead to the Flyers last year, has not faded.

“You just don’t want to give a team confidence,’’ Pierce said. “I don’t want to be a part of that team that’s NBA history giving up a 3-0 lead.’’

Shaq a no-go Shaquille O’Neal will sit out again. Rivers didn’t bother putting him on the floor to test the sore right Achilles’ that’s kept O’Neal out of all but one game since Feb. 1.

“We didn’t do anything to see honestly,’’ Rivers said.

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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