Pressey drops double-double in last-minute start

Pressey drops double-double in last-minute start
April 12, 2014, 12:45 am
Share This Post
(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — You hear coaches and players talk all the time about staying ready because you never know when your number will be called.

Boston Celtics rookie Phil Pressey knows this all too well after being told he would start on Friday night, less than an hour before tip-off.

He was filling in for Rajon Rondo, a last-minute scratch because of a shin injury.

And so what did Pressey do?

He made the most of his opportunity to play major minutes, and put up Rondo-like numbers in helping the Celtics knock off the Charlotte Bobcats 106-103 which snapped Boston's nine-game losing streak.

Pressey finished with 10 points and 13 assists for his second career double-double.

"I was getting taped and Coach (Stevens) walked in and was like, 'you are starting,'" Pressey said. "From there on I had to get my mind ready."

It was Pressey's ninth start of the season, so playing with the first unit was not a foreign concept to him.

"It was just so soon, forty minutes before game time," Pressey said.

But just like most challenges he has faced this season, Pressey showed the kind of poise and focus that allowed the rookie to provide just what the Celtics needed in order to emerge with a rare win.

"He (Pressey) was everywhere," said Boston's Avery Bradley who led all Celtics with 22 points. "He was just hustling. He got the fans into it. Phil's a very good player and he played very good on both ends of the floor. He got everybody going."

As the team's point guard coming off the bench, Pressey understands the need to bring energy is vital to him being effective.

And as much as his double-double certainly draws one's attention, it was Pressey diving for loose balls or tipping missed shots out to teammates, that at the end of the day proved to be the difference.

Leading 104-103, Sullinger missed a 3-point shot that Pressey tipped out to Brandon Bass who was immediately fouled.

It eventually led to a pair of free throws by Sullinger to seal the victory.

"Every coach in the country wants their guards to get back on the shot and not offensive rebound, especially their point guards," Stevens said. "And then he makes a play like that and we're all like, 'hey that was a huge play, great play.' So, yeah, great play. The diving on the floor was great."

Said Pressey: "That's just one of the winning plays that Coach Stevens talks about - diving for a loose ball, boxing out, taking a charge, getting the offensive rebound. That's the winning play that he talks about day-in and day-out. I had a good look at it, tipped it out, and made a great play."

But those plays would not have come about if Pressey didn't consistently keep himself ready to play, unsure when playing time or how much will come his way.

"It kind of took me a while to have that same mindset the whole year, because coming out of college you have that one mindset that you're starting every game," Pressey said. "Now you play thirty minutes, you play five minutes, you play fifteen minutes, you don't play at all."

Kris Humphries is one of Pressey's biggest fans on the team.

"I love playing with him," Humphries said. "He's a guy that can really spoon-feed the bigs. He plays pretty good defense. He can do a lot of things."

And while the praise for Pressey's game was plentiful, he committed four of the team's 20 turnovers with his last turnover leading to a Charlotte basket.

Humphries recalled someone mentioning that particular miscue by Pressey.

"You take the bad with the great,'" Humphries recalled saying at that time. "He made a lot of great plays tonight."