Enes Kanter providing Celtics with rebounds, rookies with confidence

A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON -- You have to go all the way back to Enes Kanter's second year in the NBA to find a season in which he averaged fewer rebounds than he is this season (6.4) with the Boston Celtics

But as he explains to NBC Sports Boston, there's a lot of season left to be played and a lot of youngsters around him who could use a boost of confidence.

And in doing so, he's picking just the right time to pick teams apart on the glass which was exactly what happened in Boston's 114-93 win over Detroit. 

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Kanter came off the bench to tally a near double-double with eight points and a season-high 18 rebounds, which is the most by a Celtic player this season. 

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In the last three games for Boston, Kanter has been in beast mode on the glass with an average of 13.3 rebounds per game. 

"The last three games, if you look at who we played, Joel (Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers), Drummond (Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons) and (Dallas big man Kristaps) Porzingis. They're all big guys," Kanter told NBC Sports Boston.

And Kanter clearly elevated his play against them, proving to be a key in Boston winning two of its last three games. 

"That's what Enes does well," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "He rebounds."

But usually his best work is on the offensive glass, which is where five of his 18 boards came tonight. 

However, the Celtics' success on Friday was in large part because of Kanter's presence on the defensive glass which he readily admits he doesn't spend a ton of time crashing the boards at that end of the floor. 

"I usually don't really go for the defensive rebounds," Kanter said. "I let my teammates get it so they can get some confidence. But tonight, it was Drummond. I gotta make sure we get (those defensive rebounds)."

In his ninth NBA season, Kanter is well-versed on what he needs to do to make an impact for Boston. 

But in this early stage of the season, he's more concerned with making sure his younger teammates gain confidence as the game progresses. 

The way he sees it, them being able to contribute on the boards is one way of making that happen. 

"If they can get a couple rebounds, get their confidence up, make couple shots, maybe later on they play with confidence," Kanter said. "We all know I can rebound. It's all about getting confidence."

Kanter's rebounding set the tone for Boston to finish with a commanding 51-36 edge on the boards that was among the many factors weighing in the Celtics' favor. 

Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey acknowledged Boston's rebounding was among the key factors in the game's outcome. 

"They did a great job of boxing out, of taking two guys and taking Andre out," Casey told reporters after the loss. "They are well-rounded with a well-rounded roster and there are a lot of bigs that are very physical, and they did a good job of keeping us off the boards."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Hornets, which tips off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Tommy have the call at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Enes Kanter providing Celtics with rebounds, rookies with confidence originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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