Pressey has point covered in Rondo's absence

Pressey has point covered in Rondo's absence
October 10, 2013, 12:30 am
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Phil Pressey was scoring. He was finding teammates.

But maybe just as important, he was leading the Celtics in a way that the C's have not really seen since Rajon Rondo went down with a torn right ACL in January.

Pressey was far from flawless in his performance Wednesday night against New York, but the 5-foot-11 point guard delivered a slew of clutch plays at both ends of the floor.

His play enabled the Celtics to take a lead late in the game after he made a left-handed, driving layup that put the C's ahead after having fell behind by as many as 23 points in the fourth.

But this fairy tale performance did not have a happy ending for the Celtics.

Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., with his all-NBA dad in the stands cheering him on, drilled a baseline 17-foot jumper with eight seconds to play that allowed the Knicks to escape with a 103-102 win.

C's coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with the outcome, but had nothing but praise for the job that Pressey did in directing the team's near-comeback.

It was the kind of performance that has to be taken into account in Stevens' evaluations as far as who will play and who will not.
"Phil’s going to find time if he keeps doing what he’s doing," Stevens said. "Now, the challenge is responding to a night where you have a little success, and then responding the nights where you don’t.  And just maintaining an even-ness about you."

Pressey had 13 points, seven assists along with three rebounds and two steals.

After the game, Pressey was still thinking like a point guard, quickly passing the credit for his success upon teammates Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley.

“I was just trying to go out there and carry over what was happening in practice," Pressey said. "Compete everyday, and I really feel like Avery and Jordan and other guys, us competing against each other, really got me ready for the game.”

Pressey has also benefited from having Rajon Rondo around.

Despite being out since January, Rondo has been among the many voices Pressey hears in his ear often.

"I give him as much advice as he asks me," Rondo said. "He's a good listener; not a lot of young guys come in and always willing and open to listen. He's a very humble guy. That will take him a long way. He has a little chip on his shoulder. He was undrafted. But the way he plays in practice, and the heart he has, you can't measure that. I think he'll be a pro for a long time."

Performances such as the one Pressey had on Monday can only help.

"The one thing about Phil is Phil gets in the gym, you guys have all been around, and he doesn’t leave the gym early," Stevens said. "And he’s a guy that can make plays for other people and he made us better tonight.”