Monday, December 30, 2013
Practice: Wallace stumps for Green
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Gerald Wallace doesn't believe in New Year's resolutions. He figures most of them are lies. But forced to make one, he went in a selfless direction Monday and said he'd like to see teammate Jeff Green make the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
Wallace is doing his part, not only by stumping for Green, but pushing him on the court.
"He has so much upside. He can get so much better," said Wallace. "He's so explosive at his size and the position he plays. Just the little things that I can help him with that I've been through in my career and try to add to his game. I try to give him advice about his game that he can do better, and he's taken huge advantage and continued to get better every day."
Green was ninth in voting among members of the Eastern Conference frontcourt during the latest returns. He might not win the popularity vote, but there's the chance that Boston could net an All-Star via coaches' vote or injury replacement before next month's midseason showcase in New Orleans.
Wallace is a former All-Star, but has seen his playing time scaled back in Boston. The 13th-year veteran is averaging 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists over 22.7 minutes per game in 30 appearances. Wallace remains a key cog in the second unit, often spelling Green when he's off the floor. But Wallace's primary role at this stage of his career might be veteran leader.
"I think it’s been great," Wallace said reflecting on his first two months in Boston. "I think it’s just a different situation for me. A situation that I’m still kind of adjusting to. It’s been fun, my teammates are great, being able to be around them and watch them develop, watch the team develop, the way we are playing and the progress we’ve made as a team. It’s been a great year for me so far.
"I always try to lead by example out on the court. I’m not out there as much, so I have to do a lot more talking than I’ve been comfortable doing. These guys here, they are great. They listen. They are encouraged by what I say and they often come to me with questions."
Wallace sat out the second half of Saturday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers after getting hit in the face in the face, but showed no lingering effects and returned to practice on Monday.
Said Celtics coach Brad Stevens: "Gerald was fine. [Keeping him out in the second half Saturday was] very precautionary."
Some more quick hits from Boston's late-morning session:
- NO RESOLUTIONS NECESSARY: Like Wallace, neither Stevens nor Kris Humphries were particularly eager to offer a New Year's resolution. Said Stevens: "One of the things I try to do, I probably need to eat better. That’s probably always going to be No. 1 and I always say it every year. But I have this weird belief that, if you think you should change something, you should just change it before the day. I don’t know if it’s correct or not. ... It’s kind of a personal thing." Echoed Humphries, "Here’s the thing: I think everybody should try to become a better person, a better basketball player everyday. I don’t just believe in one day per year to make a resolution. Everyday." Humphries even got deep, pulling out the old quote about how a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. But pressed on a resolution, he added, "Just winning games. Write that down."
- PRAISE FOR HUMP: Hard-working Humphries has been playing at a high level since seeing an uptick in playing time. Stevens offered high praise after Monday's session. "First of all, his ability to stay in shape, both mentally and physically [and] his professionalism has been a huge role in [taking advantage when his opportunity arrived]," said Stevens. "And then the second thing is he’s played well. He’s played really well. As much as you try to evaluate all that other stuff, the bottom line is he’s played really well when he gets into the game. He’s becoming a better defender, I think. He’s been a much more versatile defender than I may have realized early. As good as his numbers are now, they weren’t good in the preseason. It’s been a great thing for our team that he’s playing the way he’s playing and I’m excited for him because he never waned, he never looked at [a lack of playing time] as a negative. He just waited for his opportunity."
- SULLY SHRUGS OFF SATURDAY STRUGGLES: Jared Sullinger had one of his quieter games during Saturday's win over the Cavaliers. The final result made it easy for him to move on. "It was difficult for me, but we won, so I can care less about that,"said Sullinger. "I'm just going to keep playing. That's pretty much what I've been doing all season -- just playing hard and playing my game. But just because I played like that, I can care less because we won. That's all that matters to me." Oh, and Sullinger's resolution, in case you're wondering: "Be back on top in the Atlantic Division, honestly, and just make the playoffs and hopefully make a run," he said. "I think that's the mindset we have as a unit around here, and we're just ready to go." Pressed on an off-the-court resolution, he added, "Call my mom more. I don’t call her enough."
- LOOSE BALLS: Stevens' 8-year-old son, Brady, got up some shots after the team's session while wearing some eye-popping neon green shoes. Turns out the family purchased them back in Indianapolis before the Celtics-Pacers game so Brady could display his new Celtics allegiance. Told he must be rubbing off on his son, Stevens quipped, "Yeah, I’m a fashion person. Maybe he’s learning more from our players than he is from me. That’s probably a good thing." ... We've seen Coach Stevens dive into shooting drills in the past, but as the team went through some offensive work to close out Monday's workout, he hopped in to provide defense on Avery Bradley. Did the coach give Bradley a taste of his own medicine? You be the judge in the video glimpse below.