Phil Pressey certainly made the most of his situation in tonight’s clash with the Knicks. The Celtics’ undrafted point guard made his NBA début one to remember. Pressey’s last-minute layup gave the Celtics the lead, completing an improbable comeback from 23 points down. Boston was unable to hold the lead though, as Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway hit a three with less than ten seconds left to win the game for New York. Of all Celtic contributors tonight, Pressey certainly was most impressive. Despite coming off the bench, the undrafted point guard from Missouri led the C’s in points, assists, steals, and minutes played.
With Jordan Crawford missing the game due to personal issues, Pressey took his extra minutes and thrived. Starting guard Courtney Lee did not have a particularly good game, with just two points on seven shots in 26 minutes. With MarShon Brooks dealing with a potential head injury (left yesterday’s practice early with a headache), Pressey was needed to step up. And step up he did.
With under eight minutes to play, Boston faced a 23 point deficit, until Pressey decided enough was enough. Pressey scored eight of his thirteen points in those last eight minutes as Boston stormed back to take the lead on Pressey’s go ahead layup with 22 seconds left. Pressey also had four assists in the last quarter, more than any other Celtic but Brandon Bass over the entire game.
It was noted in yesterday’s article that Pressey was the last one to leave the floor on Tuesday’s practice and was often seen putting in extra time. His hard work clearly was noticed by new coach Brad Stevens, who gave him more minutes than any other player tonight. In what might prove to be a crowded backcourt this season, Pressey will need to continue to shine in these preseason games if he wants to garner substantial playing time when the real season rolls around.
Mark Puleo twitter: @NBAKidInsider