Pressey starts shooting, finishes with 20

Pressey starts shooting, finishes with 20
January 23, 2014, 12:00 am
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In addition to his shooting, rookie Phil Pressey dove for a loose ball to force a key jump ball late.

(USA Today Sports Images)

WASHINGTON — Phil Pressey finally answered the bombastic, thunder clap-like sound from his teammates who have had a very simple, succinct message for the rookie point guard.

SHOOT THE DAMN BALL!!

Did. He. Ever.

Pressey, a pass-first point guard in every sense of the position, answered their calls - and in the process answered a few prayers from Celtics Nation - with a career night shooting the ball as Boston slipped past Washington 113-111 in overtime on Wednesday night.

The 5-foot-11 Pressey had a career-high 20 points before fouling out in overtime. In addition he was 5-for-6 on 3s.

To put Pressey's 3-point shooting night in perspective, he had taken a total of 38 3s prior to Wednesday and missed all but six of them.

But his poor shooting this season hasn't been due to a lack of time put in working on it.

For Celtics coach Brad Stevens, that's what made the rookie guard's breakout game so encouraging.

"He deserves to make shots for how hard he works," Stevens said.

Teammate Kris Humphries echoed a similar sentiment.

"Phil man, he can shoot the ball," Humphries said. "He works hard. You see him do it in practice. He carried us a lot tonight."

And while Pressey has remained confident in his ability throughout the ups and downs of this season, it didn't hurt that his teammates kept telling him to shoot more.

"When your teammates have confidence in you to keep shooting, sooner or later it's going to fall," Pressey said.

Gerald Wallace was among the more vocal players who uh, "strongly encouraged" the rookie to keep shooting.

"I don't think he has a choice," Wallace said. "I don't think he wants to come back to the locker room not shooting the ball after what we've told him."

Because his primary strength is that of a playmaker, teams have actually used that against him and the Celtics by doing everything but daring him to pull up for a jumper.

"He was more concerned with trying to run the team and making plays for his teammates," Wallace said. "He was passing up a lot of open shots. Our main thing was, to help us we need you to take those shots."

But don't think that the breakout night scoring the ball will change Pressey's outlook which remains getting others involved first, and then seek out his offense.

"I just try to take it game by game," Pressey said. "Every game is different. Sometimes I try to facilitate more and this game I had my shot going. I can't say this was going to be my game, I didn't know. The shot presented itself and it was going down."