West gives Celtics just what they need, just in time


West gives Celtics just what they need, just in time

By A. Sherrod Blakely

NEW YORK As Delonte West's teammates made their way outside of the team's locker room following Saturday's 89-85 win over New Orleans, West took his time in getting dressed.


In many ways, it describes the basketball journey that has brought the 6-foot-3 guard back to Boston for a second tour of duty.

It is also an apt description of his game, one that the Celtics have desperately not seen enough of this season.

A 10-game suspension and multiple injuries have limited West to just 11 games this season.

But he's back in the mix, right on time as the Celtics try to finish the regular season with momentum heading into the playoffs.

His steady approach to the game should help a team that's in need of some consistency.

In addition, West also provides some much-needed toughness.

"I've been in the trenches. I've played against all these guys," West said. "I'm not nervous or anything out there."

Said coach Doc Rivers: "That's why Delonte West is so important for us."

It is that toughness, that dogged approach to the game, that has made West a fan favorite of the Celtics and a player that the C's core group know they can count on in a pinch.

"All grit" and "not giving up" were the words of choice used by Kevin Garnett in describing West.

His return not only makes the Celtics a deeper team, but also gives Rondo a back-up who is well versed in the Celtics system. In addition to West, the Celtics also have Carlos Arroyo, who was signed earlier this month after being waived by the Miami Heat.

"With D-West back and picking up Carlos, that's been big for me," said Rondo, who left Saturday's game briefly after re-aggravating a right pinkie injury. "Trying to get me as healthy as possible for a playoff push."

West is also looking forward to the postseason, one in which he will be counted on to contribute in a variety of ways.

Being a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none has been West's game since he has been in the league.

It's a role that he's more than happy to embrace.

"I enjoy playing the game of basketball," he said. "There's a game within the game. My time in Cleveland, coming off the bench, gave me an opportunity to sit and watch. Me being a high energy player . . . playing in 3-, 4-minute spurts, that's perfect for me. I come in, I can hand that off to somebody or change the tempo. That's what I do."

Paul Pierce has strung together his two worst back-to-back shooting performances of the season. After going 2-for-10 in a loss at Houston, Pierce was even colder the following night, going 1-for-9 in a win over New Orleans.

"The crazy thing," Pierce said. "Friday's loss at Houston I didn't have a rhythm. Against New Orleans, I had a good rhythm. All my shots felt good. I just missed them.

"That's something I'm not even worried about, truthfully. I'm just going to brush this off. I'm just glad we got the win."

He wasn't the only All-Star on the floor struggling.

New Orleans top player, Chris Paul, missed all nine of his shots from the field against the Celtics.

"If your name was Paul, you struggled shooting the ball," said Rivers.

For the first time this season, the Celtics went with a playoff-like rotation. It included the starting five of the Big Three, Rondo and Nenad Krstic, along with Glen Davis, Jeff Green and Delonte West off the bench.

"I have been stubborn, trying to force rest with our guys," Rivers said. "I told them, 'We're not going to go with a full rotation. We're going to shorten the rotation and make sure the bench is not in with five bench guys. It's gotta be one or two starters in together.' "

Rivers liked what he saw, but don't get too used to it.

"It was a one-game thing," Rivers said. "I'll do it here and there because I want to see more of a playoff rotation. But I'm not going to do that every often."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'


Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

WALTHAM, Mass. – The NBA has talked with  Celtics guard Kyrie Irving about disparaging comments he made to a fan at halftime that have since gone viral.

Irving said the incident happened as the Celtics were heading back to the locker room at halftime after the Celtics fell behind 50-46 to the Sixers.


“Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” yelled the fan.

Irving replied with a lewd suggestion. 

After practice on Saturday, Irving acknowledged that he did say something to a fan and that he had a conversation with the league regarding the incident.


“Hell no,” Irving said. “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

The league has not officially announced a fine for Irving, but it’s more a matter of when not if that will be forthcoming.

In fact, earlier today, the league fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for “inappropriate language” towards a fan in the Pelicans’ 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had not seen the video in question but was aware that Irving had been in conversations with the league office regarding the incident.

“Guys know what the right thing to do is,” Stevens said. “People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on. There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”