By A.Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON Carlos Arroyo is no different than any other newcomer to the Boston Celtics.
Coach Doc Rivers understands there's a lot of information to digest quickly, so he tends to give them a few pieces of the playbook at a time.
But something unexpected happened in Wednesday's 108-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
"He came down and called a play that we hadn't put in for him, but he knew the team ran it. I thought, 'Man this guy is pretty good,' " Rivers said.
Wednesday night's outcome was clearly not what the Celtics or Arroyo were looking for against the Clippers. But, considering it was Arroyo's first game, both he and the C's were pleased with how things went.
Arroyo had four points, three rebounds and two assists while playing just over 15 minutes.
His assists numbers would have been higher if some of his open teammates didn't miss open jumpers or point-blank lay-ups.
"I was just trying to do my job out there," Arroyo said. "Stay aggressive, stay solid and make the right plays on offense and defense, be as helpful as I could be."
So far, so good.
And unlike the Celtics point guards in the past couple of years, Arroyo brings a resume that speaks volumes about his ability to not just fit in, but be one of the team's veteran leaders.
"As a point guard, you are automatically thrust into a leadership role because you are out there calling plays, at the top of the ball," Pierce said.
And it's a role that Arroyo doesn't shy away from, even as he continues to learn the ins and outs of playing for the Celtics.
"It's my job to control the tempo out there," Arroyo said. "Get guys involved, get them in the right spots. But myself, I'm trying to learn the plays as it is. Hopefully by Friday I'll be much better. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself and take it day by day."
So far, his first game with the Celtics was a huge success.
"We got a consolidator," said Kevin Garnett. "We got another guy that can be the floor general. Carlos played in this league for a long time, for a lot of head-strong coaches. He brings a sense of leadership, a lot of respect in our locker room for him and we're glad he's here."