NEW ORLEANS – It was something we had not seen all season – James Young, on the floor in the first half of a Boston Celtics game.

The second-year wing knew going into the game that he would get a chance to play.

And to his credit, he was ready for the moment by being involved in a couple of huge plays that were among the keys to Boston pulling away for a 111-93 win over New Orleans.

Young played more than 20 minutes which more than doubled the amount of minutes (9) he had logged all season.

“James has had a rough go about it,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “There have been times when he hasn’t played as well. R.J. (Hunter) and Terry (Rozier) have come in and done a lot of good things for us on given nights. It’s been tough but he’s kind of stayed the course. He’s worked. I just kind of sensed on this trip … he was ready.”

Young believes that the extra work he had been putting into his game was what gave Stevens a sense that the 6-foot-6 Young was ready to contribute.

“Being more confident in myself, and just going out there and playing ball,” said Young who had four points, three rebounds and two assists. “That’s what I did in practice. I guess it kind of showed (in the game).”

Kelly Olynyk said he recognized in recent practices that Young looked more ready to contribute, adding that there’s nothing like translating those good moments into actual games.


“It’s hard to gain confidence in practice,” Olynyk said. “Especially when you practice like once a month. For him, it’s huge. He played well, made some plays defensively that helped us keep that lead.”

While Boston controlled the game most of the night, there were moments when the Pelicans seemed one or two big shots away from swinging the momentum in their favor.

And to Young’s credit, he played a role in denying New Orleans’ efforts on two different occasions.

Stevens believes two of the biggest plays of the night were made by Young.

New Orleans was on a 12-4 run in the third quarter and had cut Boston’s lead to just 12 points when Young scored his first points of the night with 22.9 seconds to play that gave Boston an 81-67 lead going into the fourth quarter.

And in the fourth quarter, Young switched out on Davis at the last minute and came up with a steal which led to a Celtics lay-up with Young on the assist.

“That play was huge because they were kind of making a run,” Stevens said.