BOSTON -- Courtney Lee counted the shots.
41 42 43
44 45 46
For the first time this season, Lee passed 40 three-pointers made in warmups during shootaround on Friday. He finished with 46 out of 50, the most since joining the Boston Celtics and the number he hit consistently last season with the Houston Rockets.
"I just found my rhythm," Lee told CSNNE.com. "It took forever to find this season."
Hours later, Lee stepped on to the court against his former team, the Houston Rockets, and scored 14 points off 5-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-3 from long range. His performance passed his season average of 6.9 points and he said it had nothing to do with playing against his old club (those emotions are reserved for the Brooklyn Nets). Rather, after months of work, he was getting into the swing of things.
"You can say I struggled because I was new in the beginning but that excuse gets old after a while. I just didn't have it," he said. "I think it was just getting comfortable, getting extra shots up in practice."
Lee's production has increased during the season. In November, he averaged 5.1 points, shooting 42.1 percent from the field (18.2 percent 3PG). The next month, his scoring average increased to 8.0 points, going 46.9 percent from the floor (38.5 percent 3PG). On Friday, he entered the game posting 6.8 points per game but shooting more consistently, 56.0 percent FG and 50.0 percent beyond the arc.
The combination of more time within the Celtics system, establishing his role off the bench, playing alongside Avery Bradley (who returned to action last week), and a culmination of thousands of shots in practice have all contributed to his rhythm on the court.
"Everything feels good," Lee said. "You're not second guessing your shot. You have your rhythm, you're in the flow of the game."
Lee will continue to put up extra shots after practice and shootarounds. He doesn't want to lose the feeling he's worked to attain the entire season.
"It just feels like a natural movement," he said. "The ball feels light. It's going in. Swishes."