Originally written on The Nosebleeds  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Celtics 118, Hawks 107 Have the Celtics found a center? As Shavlik Randolph, a 6-foot-10-inch big man who was playing in China before Jared Sullinger’s injury forced the C’s to bring in some help, dominated the Hawks (40-33) front line for periods of Friday night’s win, Mike Gorman had to ask that question. In the midst of his usual play-by-play duties, Gorman and his partner (the affable Tommy Heinsohn) couldn’t help but gush over the effort that this 5th year pro displayed on the boards. In only 21 minutes, Randolph scored nine points to go along with 13 rebounds. Seven of those boards came on the offensive end, and that marks the highest total for any Celtic this season. “I know when I go out there it’s going to be for short stretches, you know, short bursts, and there’s no excuse for me not to give a 100 percent out there” Randolph told WEEI after the game, “That’s my job, to go manhunt every rebound.” Boston has missed that type of effort since Sullinger went down for the year with a back injury, and if Danny Ainge was at all skeptical about the decision to sign Randolph to a multi-year deal last Thursday, this performance had to alleviate any concerns. This is a team that struggles to control the defensive boards, while making essentially no attempts to control offensive rebounds. In their narrow win over Cleveland on Wednesday, the C’s only had two offensive boards, which is an insanely low number even if the team wasn’t focusing on attacking the glass for second chances. They need tough-minded bigs like Randolph to control the paint, and once Kevin Garnett returns from his ankle injury, Randolph should provide some solid minutes as the backup center. Without Garnett in the lineup, all the Celtics have had to step up. While Boston managed to snap their five-game losing streak with a narrow win in Cleveland on Wednesday night, this victory marked the end of a sluggish stretch of basketball out of this group. Since their disappointing loss to Miami last Monday night, the C’s have been in a funk. They haven’t played with joy, haven’t really been aggressive on the offensive end, and while part of that has to do with their tendency to play poorly in road games (13-23 road record), it seemed that the team as a whole was rather dispirited. However, as the reserves start to get more comfortable with an increased role, and Brandon Bass and Jeff Green find their stride as the Celts primary options down low, the hangover from the Heat game has begun to wore off. Boston (38-34) scored a season-high 118 points, while shooting 54 percent from the field in a game that they desperately needed to remain in good position for the playoffs. Thanks to a triple-double from Paul Pierce, a 27-point performance by Jeff Green, and five clutch three-pointers from Jason Terry, they were able to gain a game on Atlanta. With only ten games remaining on the Celtics regular season schedule, they are now 1.5 games behind the Hawks for the sixth seed in the East, and are starting to gel at the right time. Jason Terry told CSN’s Greg Dickerson how this team intends to perform down the stretch. In a post-game interview, Terry drew the sideline reporter’s attention to a bracelet on his wrist that reads: ‘Step your game up,’ which is apparently the Celtics new mantra for this year’s playoff run. If veterans like Terry and Pierce continue to step their game up, along with young additions such as Randolph, Jordan Crawford, and Terrence Williams, then there is a chance that the C’s can make some noise in the postseason this year.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

2014 World Series: Game Three live blog

Memorabilia dealer at center of Todd Gurley scandal fired

Colt McCoy on learning he was starting ‘it’s about f—ing time’

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

Big trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks, possibly more

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

Broncos corner snags INT, then takes pregnant wife to hospital

Gurley dressed up as a pirate for Halloween, yelled, 'Free me'

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Nick Saban pens touching letter after high school coach dies

NBA Replay Center readies for its debut on Opening Night

WATCH: Former NBAer delivers vicious flying elbow Down Under

RNS looking to add agents with existing client rosters

Would World Series win make the Giants a dynasty?

Celtics News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.