Well well well.
On a night in which the Boston Celtics sat recently-returned point guard Rajon Rondo, started rookie Phil Pressey at the point, and used a roster that included not one but two players recently signed from the NBA Development League, the Cs went into our nation’s capital and committed a felony:
They absolutely stole a game right out from under the Washington Wizards’ noses, 113-111 in overtime.
When the game first started, I had this to say on Twitter:
With all of those Celtics’ guards out due to injuries, I am hoping Boston wins because . . . ?
— Hardwood Houdini (@HoudiniCeltics) January 23, 2014
After all, the Celtics were missing Rondo, second-leading scorer Avery Bradley, and recently acquired guard Jerryd Bayless, who had been chipping in 7 points and 3 assists off of the bench for Boston. With those guys either resting or injured, the Celtics employed Pressey, Chris Johnson, and Vander Blue, and wound up with a scrappy overtime victory!
Cease and desist the tanking talk for one more day, please!
Okay: in all fairness, Boston secured a hard-fought W tonight for a few reasons:
1. Jeff Green apparently CAN carry a team. At least for tonight, Green made me shut my mouth. When discussing trade rumors this week, I have been adamant about two things: the Celtics should not trade Rondo, and the Celtics should try to trade Green in order to bring in another potential All-Star for this roster. I see Green as a second option on offense, possibly even a third, but for one night, he made the argument that he can step up to the challenge of leading this team when it needs him to carry the offensive load. His 39 points were a season high, and it was evident from tip-off that he was looking to get into a rhythm and find his shot. I have no idea why he doesn’t do this every night, but for now I will tip my hat and say, “Well played, sir.”
2. Phil Pressey has a future in this league. Remember back in November, when Pressey was playing, uh, never? Me neither. The rookie point guard logged 34:31 minutes of PT tonight, and responded with the best shooting night of his young NBA career: 7-10 from the field, 5-6 from downtown, en route to 20 points. The youngster also chipped in 4 dimes and 2 steals before fouling out, meaning he accounted for 28 of Boston’s 113 points – 25%. Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn fired off this Tweet during halftime:
“Pressey has so impressed the whole organization … Man, he just played an OUTSTANDING 1st half here!!! … 4 3’s he hit in this half!” — Tommy Heinsohn (@CSNTommy) January 23, 2014
The force is strong with this one.
3. Gerald Wallace earned his paycheck tonight.
With 9 dimes and the go-ahead basket on a driving layup, Wallace justified his being out in the starting lineup tonight. The veteran also added 6 rebounds and a team-high 4 steals (tied with Chris Johnson) to go along with his 9 points. Personally, had I been Brad Stevens tonight, I would have started Jeff Green at the 2 and gone with Kelly Olynyk at small forward to start the game. Instead, Stevens gave Wallace the start, and it paid big dividends. Good game for Wallace.
And a good game for a team that could have surrendered once Washington fought its way back from a 18-point halftime deficit. I love it when the Celtics play with heart and – yes, I’ll say it – Celtic pride. It is not going to add up to many wins this season, but look out next year. I’ll leave it at that.
Thanks for the read!