Courtney Lee has all sorts of space as he catches the ball on Friday.PHILADELPHIA -- Some of his teammates had already showered, dressed, and made their way to the early bus before Courtney Lee had even removed his uniform in the Celtics' locker room following Friday's 95-94 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Lee sat at his locker solemnly contemplating a missed corner 3-pointer that could have sealed a Boston victory with the team out front by a point and 25 seconds remaining in overtime. If the shot falls, it's a two-possession game and the Celtics almost certainly emerge with a gritty win.
Instead, Lee airballed the attempt, the 76ers pushed the ball the other way, took the clock down, and Evan Turner made a tough pull-up jumper over Lee for the winning points.
"We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of good looks, and they just didn’t go down. Especially mine," said Lee. "I know Doc probably talked to the media and said it was unfair that I was sitting for like 12 minutes, but it doesn’t matter. We're NBA players, we get paid to play this game, and I have to at least hit the rim to give us a chance to get an offensive rebound. I didn’t do that, so I’m very disappointed in myself."
Celtics veterans tried to rally around Lee, who has shown signs recently of emerging from his early season struggles. The team doesn't want his confidence to erode after he's made strides, especially because he could just as easily be in that same situation Saturday night.
"Keep your head up, we got a game tomorrow, it’s a long season," Celtics captain Paul Pierce said when asked what he'd stress to Lee. "I’m sure he’s going to get plenty of those opportunities throughout the season. Teams are not going to allow me, Kevin [Garnett] and [Rajon] Rondo to try to beat them, and there’s going to be opportunities for a lot of these guys. Keep your head up, and be ready."
Jason Terry, who was an unsightly 1-for-12 from the field, missing six of the seven 3-pointers he chucked, noted that he had plenty of opportunities to help Boston seal this win as well.
"If [Lee] makes that shot, we’re in here with a different tune, but that could have been any one of us," said Terry. "I had my share tonight."
Lee was one of the last players to depart the locker room, but didn't shy away from talking to reporters about his airball. A 40-percent 3-point shooter when he arrived in Boston this summer, Lee is a mere 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) beyond the arc this season.
But he said he won't be rattled by one miss.
"My confidence is always going to be there, because I’ve been playing basketball for a while now, man," said Lee. "I can’t recall how many times I’ve ever shot an airball, you just gotta continue to work. Keep practicing, that’s all."