Celtics Notes from Waltham
The Eddie House love fest continued this afternoon at Celtics practice where the press wanted to know how he felt not playing for the first 12 games of the playoffs. Reporters are so cynical that way. To his credit, Eddie owned up to being frustrated, but the difference between a professional’s frustration and the kind that can tear a team apart was in this simple quote: “Once the game starts, I’m fine,” Eddie told us. “I just want to win the game.”
If there have been issues this year the Celtics have done a better job than most teams of keeping them out of public view. More importantly, when players have received their chances they have generally made the most of them, which again, speaks to the professionalism that has been on display all year.
So does this: With just under two minutes left to play in Game 7, and the C’s clinging to a one-point lead, House made the pass to PJ Brown for an open 20-foot jump shot that was the biggest basket of the game.
“That’s what happens when you make the right basketball play,” Eddie told me after the scrum had moved on. “We’ve been doing that all year. When you do the right thing, the basketball gods reward you.”
I asked Doc Rivers about the play and here’s what he had to say. “Eddie’s a great shooter but it was going to be a contested shot. We preach all year: Find the uncontested shooter, and he made the right decision. It was an extra pass to Eddie and an extra pass to PJ. It was perfect.”
I made the point to Doc that people question whether they have a “go-to guy” down the stretch, and he finished the thought for me. “Our go-to guy comes when we play together. We preach every day, ‘Don’t make a play for yourself, make a play for your teammates.’ The game is easy when you do it that way.”
Speaking of making a play for yourself, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell engaged in one of the most hilarious, and profane, one-on-one games since Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson went after each other in White Men Can’t Jump. Cassell naturally credited himself with helping restore Paul Pierce‘s confidence with a similar game Saturday so maybe a little Sam-I-Am defense is just the tonic for Allen to get going.
The highlight of the contest came when Cassell channeled Anderson Varaejo and flopped a good 20 feet. Needing a neutral observer to make the call the pair called on James Posey who was watching courtside. Posey pulled out his best Dick Bavetta impersonation to call a block on Sammy, which naturally, sent Cassell into hysterics.
After the impromptu game, Allen knocked down about 20 straight jumpers from each elbow.