Pressey's 1st start: 10 assists, no turnovers

Pressey's 1st start: 10 assists, no turnovers
January 16, 2014, 12:30 am
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Phil Pressey ran the Celtics offense smoothly in his first NBA start with 10 assists and no turnovers.

(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — Phil Pressey found himself in an unfamiliar place on Wednesday - in the Celtics' starting lineup.

With the three-team deal that shipped out Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks just hours before the Celtics were to host the Toronto Raptors, coach Brad Stevens turned to his undrafted rookie.

And Pressey didn't disappoint. He had a career night in the 88-83 win over the Raptors.

Pressey, making his first NBA start, finished with a career-high 10 assists.

What was even more impressive about his play was he did it without committing a single turnover.

"He was terrific," Stevens said. "I thought he was absolutely terrific."

Pressey's backcourt partner on Wednesday, Avery Bradley, was also pleased with the rookie's play.

"He did a great job," Bradley said. "As a rookie, you could be a little nervous going out there [as a starter]. It shows he's a professional. Not only that, the coach had confidence in him and we did; we knew he could go out there and perform well and that's what he did."

Not only did he perform well, but he did his job when the game's pressure was at its highest point - the fourth quarter.

As the Celtics commanding lead began to shrivel up, there were clear indicators that Pressey's presence was helping keep the Celtics from letting this game slip away.

"I thought when things got tough, he got tough," Stevens said. "We went through a stretch where we weren't together but then at the end he was kind of helping lead, which is hard for a rookie to do. But he's got a good mind on. I thought he played a great game."

While this is Pressey's first year in the NBA, he is no stranger to being a leader on the floor.

"Just being a point guard, you just kind of know what's going on on the floor at all times," Pressey said. "Just try to know what the coaches are thinking. Just always try to relate what he is saying back to the team at all times. It's something I was doing since I was younger."

And that experience was more than enough for Pressey to contribute to a much-needed Celtics victory, even if it had him in an unfamiliar place.