Lee, Stevens discuss playing time frustration

Lee, Stevens discuss playing time frustration
December 22, 2013, 6:00 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Courtney Lee and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens have discussed Lee's frustration with his role and playing time, but it remains to be seen if any changes will come about as a result.

Following Boston's 106-99 loss to Washington on Saturday, Lee spoke with CSNNE.com about Stevens' decision to not play him in the second half of the Wizards loss.

"Are you going to be consistent with what you do?" Lee told CSNNE.com "You're gonna stick to a time subbing pattern that you make before the game and not go off how the game's going? Or are you going to go off of how the game is going? I don't know."

Lee pointed to games earlier this season in which he was in a great offensive flow, only to find himself back on the bench because of Stevens' decision to stick with his usual rotation.

Lee had 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, in Boston's 107-106 loss to Detroit on Wednesday while making all four of his shots from the field. Trailing by three points in the fourth, Boston subbed him out for Avery Bradley with less than six minutes to play.

When Boston beat New York 90-86 on Dec. 13, Lee had 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting. He played 19 minutes, but only three of those came in the fourth quarter.

Prior to Sunday's game, Stevens told reporters that he did have a chance to talk with Lee.

"Being frustrated is part of it," Stevens said. "I get that. I'm not gonna ... over-do that. He was frustrated. That's OK. It is what it is. He's gonna play a big role for us and he knows that."

Tommy Heinsohn, Comcast SportsNet basketball analyst and former Celtics Hall of Famer, was not happy to hear of Lee's comments.

"Brad Stevens resurrected his career," Heinsohn said during Comcast SportsNet's Pre-Game Live show. "This is a team. [Stevens]'s playing 11 guys. Each of them has a role. If it depends upon, in this player's mind, the number of minutes ... that's wrong!"

When reminded that Lee did not play in the entire second half of Saturday's loss to the Wizards, Heinsohn said, "I tell you what my observation of Courtney Lee was last night. Defensively, he could not play (John) Wall or the other guards that were out there. And I think that was a big reason."

Getting the minutes that would have gone to Lee was Bradley who had a game-high 26 points.

Lee said he had no problem with Bradley getting the bulk of the minutes on Saturday.

"He had it going," Lee said. "So it made sense to leave him in while he's going. But what I'm saying in the same sense, there were games when I had it going and I came out of the game."

It's still unclear if the conversation Lee and Stevens had on Sunday will resolve matters. But one thing is clear: Lee will not demand a trade.

"I been through worst (expletive) in life than basketball," Lee said. "I don't give up on nothing that easy. It's never going to get to that point. No one man can make me want to walk away from a situation. Now if I get traded, I get traded. That's one thing. But I'll never ask for a trade."