With West out, Wafer to see more time

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With West out, Wafer to see more time

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Just days ago, Doc Rivers called Von Wafer and Luke Harangody into his office.

He had an important message to deliver, one that was critical for the two reserves to remember during the season.

"Just stay ready," Wafer recalled.

In spite of their limited minutes, Rivers urged them to be prepared to play at any time. After all, they never knew when their name would get called.

That time came sooner than Wafer expected.

On Wednesday night Delonte West broke his wrist on a drive to the basket. Rivers projects West could be sidelined until the playoffs, leaving a gap in the Celtics backcourt.

Enter Wafer.

Wafer started the fourth quarter and played during a five-minute stretch in which the Celtics went on a critical 9-4 run. Even though his box score reads zeros in every category, he provided a necessary spark off the bench.

"Von Wafer -- his stat line's going to say he did basically nothing -- I thought his defensive energy was phenomenal," said Rivers. "It was great for Von in the locker room. Everybody was grabbing him . . . because defense' and Von' can now go together. And that's a great thing."

Kevin Garnett called Wafer "electric." Rivers watched his words of encouragement pay off.

"After the game Doc tapped me and said, 'See what I told you?' " Wafer told CSNNE.com. "So I've just got to stay ready and I'm just happy to be part of this. There's something special going on."

As Wafer helps his team fight for a championship, he is also undergoing a personal transformation.

In 2009, Wafer was kicked out of a postseason game by coach Rick Adelman for complaining about playing time as a member of the Houston Rockets.

He then left the NBA and headed to Europe, where he clashed with his coach in Greece.

Just last month, Wafer and West fought in the Celtics locker room.

Wafer, who considers himself laidback, goofy, and "a little sensitive," admits he still has a lot to learn. Now in his fifth NBA season, he is gaining a different perspective on the game.

"I'm really learning how to become a professional here," he said. "I've learned so much. People have a lot of negative things to say about me. I just didn't really know, but these guys have really taken me under their wings and they're showing me. I think I've gotten a lot better. It's just part of staying ready and being part of this culture."

Wafer has been putting in extra time practicing against Harangody and Avery Bradley. He is focused on staying ready, even if he doesn't get on the court every night.

And that is the key to investing in Celtics basketball. Wafer has a better appreciation of "we, not me."

"It's not about you, it's about us," he said. "Just stay ready because you never know what could happen. That's what they preach here and I believe in it. Everybody has one goal and whether you're playing or you're cheerleading, you've got to be ready."

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.
 
 

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Greg Hardy, Chris Mannix, and Glenn Ordway discuss what the Celtics should have done before the trade deadline, and what they need to do in the offseason in order to reach the next level in playoffs.