Stiemsma makes impact felt on offensive end

Stiemsma makes impact felt on offensive end
May 22, 2012, 4:17 am
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BOSTON As Greg Stiemsma turned to face a pretty crowded locker room full of media, he turned into the camera sporting a new look.

He had black rimmed glasses that appeared to have a semi-dark tint to them.

New look, but same old Greg Stiemsma who continues to do what undrafted 26-year-old NBA rookies all should do - make the most of every opportunity to play.

He did just that in Boston's 101-85 Game 5 win over Philadelphia, a game in which the Celtics seemed to be stuck in "mental traffic" until Stiemsma helped navigate them to a safe place - striking distance - with a bevy of unexpected but welcomed points in the paint.

He scored a playoff career-high 10 points, eight of which came in the first quarter when the Celtics offense showed few signs of life.

Stiemsma making an impact on a game immediately is nothing unusual.

But as a scorer?

Throughout this season, Stiemsma's greatest asset has been his ability to alter and block shots. During the regular season, he led the C's with 1.6 blocked shots per game.

In Monday's game, Stiemsma acknowledged that he was late getting back to a couple of defensive rotations, but he still managed to block three shots - that equaled the number of blocked shots by both teams combined, minus Stiemsma's contributions.

To reach double figures scoring is amazing when you consider he appeared in 55 games during the season and had just three games in which cracked the 10-points scored barrier.

Not surprisingly, Stiemsma's approach to Game 5 had nothing to do with any kind of inkling or hunch that he was going to be making big buckets for the Celtics.

"It just (came) kind of (in) the flow of the game, how it was going," Stiemsma said.

Stiemsma came through with the kind of performance the Celtics desperately needed, especially from their bench which has had problems with establishing itself in this series with any kind of regularity.

And with Avery Bradley (left shoulder) unable to play, Boston re-inserted Ray Allen into the starting lineup which means the Celtics' second unit didn't have nearly as much offensive punch as they're accustomed to.

So for all the players the Celtics could have anticipated stepping up with a big game offensively, chances are pretty high that Stiemsma would not have been anyone's first choice.

"The 10 points by the Steamer (Stiemsma) on the first half was big," said C's coach Doc Rivers.

Part of what made Stiemsma's play so unexpected was that going into the game, it appeared as though Ryan Hollins had taken Stiemsma's place in the Celtics' regular big man rotation.

But Stiemsma said Rivers told him before the game to be ready because he was probably going to be the first big man off the bench.

Even as Stiemsma sat and Hollins played, you could find the 7-footer cheering on Hollins despite the knowledge that the minutes Hollins was getting, were coming at his expense.

"It's playoff time," he said. "As long as we're winning, I'm happy."