Celtics rookie Moore impresses in debut

Celtics rookie Moore impresses in debut
December 18, 2011, 11:27 pm
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TORONTO You don't want to get too carried away with a 76-75 preseason win, especially when it comes over the Toronto Raptors who will be among the NBA's worst teams this year.

But there's no way Celtics Nation can ignore the play of E'Twaun Moore, the C's second-round pick in last June's NBA draft who continues to impress.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard only had four points on Sunday, but they could not have come at a better time.

And when you hear his teammates talk about him - his Hall of Fame-bound teammates - you don't get the sense that they're talking about a rookie.

Boston's Kevin Garnett has seen his share of talented young players come through. But the poise that Moore has shown thus far, Garnett acknowledges, is unusual.

"A lot of young people, play to the side, play to the back, kind of sit there and watch a lot," Garnett said. "He's no different from that, but at the end of the day, he has an opinion. And it's a valuable one. He's not just talking to hear himself."

Moore is vocal on the floor, directing the C's various sets when called upon. But more than his voice, his game has said plenty about how valuable his four years at Purdue and brief stint in Italy has been to preparing him for the NBA.

"Basketball is basketball, no matter where it's played," Moore said. "That's how I feel when I'm out there on the court. When I go out there, I stay confident and go out there and play hard."

What really jumps out about Moore's play has been his pace.

"The interesting thing about that, the speed, when you get young guys in they want to go so fast and they're rushing," said C's guard Ray Allen. "You can see he has a speed that's kind of in-between. He knows when to turn it on and he knows when to kind of lull his defender into a false sense of reality. That helps out here. That's one thing you have to learn when you're a young player in this league. And if you have that already, the game slows down for you."

And that could increase the chances of him cracking the Celtics rotation as the team's fourth guard behind Rajon Rondo, Allen and Keyon Dooling.

Right now, his stiffest competition appears to be coming from Avery Bradley, who was the first guard off the C's bench on Sunday.

As badly as Moore wants to play, he's approaching the prospect of seeing more action the same way he approaches the game - at a pace that is his; one that's widely respected by his teammates.

"E.T., he has a nice pace, a nice poise about him," Garnett said. "I thought the two shots he hit (in the fourth quarter) gave us a chance and put us in position to get some stops. Without those two baskets, we're not even in that position."

Moore added he was confident that both of his shots in the final 1:51 were going in.

And while shooting has been one of his strengths thus far, Moore's playmaking skills have been solid as well.

"I definitely was confident," he said. "Confident I can go out there and make the best play possible."