3.10.2008

Scalibummer

It's a lot bigger than Brian Scalabrine, this whole thing. It's about winning a championship for the Boston Celtics. As a competitive person, you want to fight and go out there and give yourself minutes. But on the other hand, you realize that we're in a situation where we are going for a championship and those guys are the ones that are helping us right now.

--Brian Scalabrine

Before yesterday’s game Doc Rivers informed Brian Scalabrine that he was being inactivated for the Celtics tilt against the Sixers. Tis a bummer that the quintessential trooper gets the short end of the stick in the numbers-crunching game known as the NBA stretch run.

Not a surprise, but a bummer.

It’s a bummer because Scalibrine’s Celtic career has run the gamut of the fan-appreciation spectrum, from misunderstood, underappreciated, and sometimes jeered role player to a much more appreciated and often cheered role player.

All along, Scalibrine just kept showing up for work and doing his job.

To be sure, he never was able to scale the heights of his 2004 playoff performance for the New Jersey Nets. But he did carve out a role for himself on the Celtics, a role that consisted of playing defense, setting picks, and, not to be understated, going-with-flow in the face of inconsistent playing time.

Scalabrine’s most important contributions as a Celtic probably came during a nine-game stint in which he started for an injured Kevin Garnett. The Celtics went 7-2 during that period, and Scalabrine did exactly what he's done ever since arriving in Beantown: he played the role defined by his coach.

The good news is that Scal didn’t get cut.

He didn’t get traded.

He didn’t even get injured.

In fact, in his first game back after a groin injury, Scals looked spry and chipper against the Bulls. Scal will still be attending practice, throwing his body at teammates, hoisting up ugly threes, and sitting on the bench come game time.

Chances are pretty good, too, that he’ll get more chances to play.

In the meantime, it just kind of struck this writer that our often underappreciated role player has been assigned another thankless task.

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