Pressey proving he can get it done on defense

Pressey proving he can get it done on defense
January 23, 2014, 4:45 pm
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BOSTON — Phil Pressey had a night to remember on Wednesday as Boston snapped its road game woes with a 113-111 overtime win against the Washington Wizards.

But as much as Pressey was praised for his shot-making, his defense might have been even more valuable.

There were a handful of transition opportunities for Washington that Pressey was able to thwart, either with a steal or a deflection.

But maybe the most telling sequence regarding his impact beyond the career-high 20 points he scored, came with a 92-all score in the fourth quarter when Pressey forced a jump ball with John Wall who is (at least) five inches taller was driving towards the basket.

Forcing the jump-ball in itself was a Tommy Award-worthy effort.

But to then go out and win the tip?

Even more impressive.

"I know I'm a smaller guy so I have to get my hands on a lot of balls and try to deflect a lot of passes and try to use my quickness and my speed as much as possible," Pressey said.

Even against Wall who is one of the fastest players in the game, Pressey held his own in terms of foot speed.

And while Wall did finish with a triple-double of 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, those 28 points came on 9-for-29 shooting with Pressey spending a good chunk of the game guarding him until he fouled out in overtime.

"I've been saying this since Day One. Guys are a lot bigger than me, they might be able to shoot over me or something like that," Pressey said. "But I put my athletic ability, my speed and quickness against anybody. I try to use that to my advantage."

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is among those pleased with the growth in Pressey's game this season.

"I think Phil has come a long way," Ainge told recently. "He is playing great right now. Not just the assists that everybody hypes up. I think his defense, his presence on the court, his confidence ... when he's playing I really feel that the guys love playing with him."