The fans have been calling out his name for three seasons, and Brian Scalabrine usually ignores them, or turns away, or buries his head in a towel. When the crowd chants, "Scal-a-bri-ne," it's because they want to see one of the last men on the Celtics bench get in the action; Scalabrine, though, doesn't want to be singled out. But when coach Doc Rivers called his name yesterday, Scalabrine responded. The 6-foot-9-inch redhead played 20 minutes 54 seconds and scored 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in the game that brought some roars from the sellout crowd at TD Banknorth Garden.
Back when the Celtics were good in the 1970s and 1980s, every Celtic eventually stepped up to enjoy at least one moment in the sun. You know the names: McDonald, Henderson, Thirdkill, and even Fernsten and Kuberski enjoyed their 15 minutes.
Until last night, that moment had been denied Brian Scalabrine.
Sure, Scals had stepped in for an injured Kevin Garnett last year. But he didn't really play much, and, more importantly, he really didn't do much.
And, yes, he had the memorable post-game interview after game 6 of the NBA Finals, where he told reporters that with in the Scalabrine clan, Brian would be remembered as the Finals MVP 20 years hence. Yet even here, Vanilla Thunder is remembered more as court jester than anything else.
This was not the case last night. He contributed and his contributions made a difference.
So hat's off to number 33, er, I mean #44.