Pressey steady for C's in Rondo's absence

Pressey steady for C's in Rondo's absence
March 27, 2014, 3:45 pm
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BOSTON — Rajon Rondo was in the middle of yet another impressive game on Wednesday when Phil Pressey got the call to enter the game.

An inadvertent elbow from Toronto's Greivis Vasquez struck Rondo's face and opened a gash between his eyebrows that took nine stitches to close.

In comes Pressey, who had not played (coaches decision) in two of Boston's three previous games.

With Rondo's minutes restriction lifted a couple weeks ago, Pressey knew his playing time would be limited. But because of the fluid nature of this Celtics roster, an opportunity to play can present itself at any moment.

And to Pressey's credit, he has remained prepared to play whenever he has had a chance to get on the court.

One of the reasons Boston was able to keep Wednesday's 99-90 loss to Toronto so close in the fourth quarter, was because of Pressey's presence.

Although he only had two points in 12 minutes of action, he did tally four assists in that time with just a single turnover.

His contributions were part of a solid night by most of Boston's backups who collectively outscored their Toronto counterparts, 51-7.

"We just tried to push the tempo," said Pressey of the Celtics' second unit. "Tried to get as (many) stops as we could early in the fourth quarter and get down in transition. I feel like that's when we play our best basketball, when we are out in transition."

It certainly has been that way whenever Pressey steps on the floor.

"He's been great setting the tempo for us when he gets into the game," Celtics big man and fellow rookie Kelly Olynyk told recently. "That's what we need from him and that's what he gives us every night."

But as much as he wants to get up and go on the floor, he knows the value of slowing down and being patient on the bench, never knowing when his next chance to play will be.

Pressey doesn't allow his mind to fixate on such thoughts.

Instead he gives more thought to making sure he's locked in with the game plan, knowing his opportunity to implement it can come at any time like it did when Rondo went out briefly in the third quarter on Wednesday with a facial injury before returning in the fourth quarter.

"I knew my name was going to get called sooner or later," Pressey said. "I just have to be ready. I'm glad he's OK. But at the same time, if he goes down, I have to be ready."