The Reinforcements Have Arrived

Rasheed Wallace was all smiles on the bench in the fourth quarter after the Celtics had put the game out of reach for the Bobcats.

I was re-watching us get our asses kicked in the first quarter against the Cavs on opening night, and I noticed one thing I missed the first time through. At the 4:54 marker of the first quarter, Doc brings Sheed into the game. We're down 21-12. A minute later we're down 26-14. Bron-Bron just canned a 96-foot three pointer with the shot-clock running down. Cleveland, it seemed, could do no wrong, while the Celtics were struggling to do anything right.

Until the next trip down the floor, when Sheed catches the ball two feet behind the arc, pauses for a moment to get his feet settled under him, and then drills a three with Z's hand in his face. Nothing but net. As #30 is back-pedaling down the court, the camera man zooms in on his face. Sheed's waiting for eye contact with the Ticket. When he gets it, Sheed closes his eyes for an observable second, opens them, and then nods to #5. His face is otherwise expressionless, but calm. He seems to be saying something. He seems to be saying this:

Nothing to worry about, Big Fella. This is why you guys brought me here. The reinforcements have arrived. Now let's go get that lead back.

Well, that's how I read it anyway. :)

1 comment:

Lex said...

Great article:

On Pro Basketball
Bill Burt

BOSTON — It was opening night for "The Rasheed Wallace Show" here at the TD Garden last night.

And it was much more entertaining and enlightening than the main event, a 92-59 drubbing by the Boston Celtics over the helpless Charlotte Bobcats.

If your image of the veteran Wallace was anything like mine — after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in May 2008, he told me "Get out of my face! I said, 'Get out of my face!'" — you're in for the surprise.

Wallace is a Boston Celtic.

He's not just an important cog. He's JoJo White. He's Dave Cowens. He's John Havlicek. He's Kevin McHale. He's Robert Parish. He's every Celtic who cared only about one thing.

"The stats don't matter," said Wallace, who tallied nine points and five rebounds in a paltry 16 minutes. "The win. That's all the matters."

Wallace, though, is a little different than the aforementioned ex-Celtics. He's got personality.

If he's not hugging somebody, including a referee (I saw it!), he's pointing at somebody on the opposing bench making some friendly threat.

When the scoreboard showed the Phillies were leading the Yankees, 2-0, through six innings, Wallace walked over to a Yankees-loving teammate on the bench to rub it in.

"I'm a life-long Phillies fan," said Wallace, a graduate of Simon Gratz High in the City of Brotherly Love. "You bet I'm proud."

It isn't often a guy can walk into a Celtics locker room, without ever having worn the green jersey, and make claims that his new team might be the best ever.

Wallace said it and got away with it.

He has only been a Celtic for two games, but it might as well be two years or even two decades.

"(Rasheed) fits the mold of our ballclub with his energy, his passion and what's about — you know, winning a championship," said Celts captain Paul Pierce. "His personality is perfect with what we have over here."

The difference between this year and the last two, including the championship season, is Wallace.

The Celtics bench, which relied on guys like Brian Scalabrine and Mikki Moore to save the day against the Orlando Magic last spring, is in position to save the day.

Wallace really is the official replacement for James Posey, who was the unofficial captain of the second unit in 2007-08. The Celtics weren't able to replace Posey last year.

"The swagger Rasheed brings is crazy," said Celts center Kendrick Perkins. "He's the same as Kevin (Garnett). His intensity is high all of the time. And his basketball IQ is through the roof. ... I love Rasheed."

You will, too, despite him being the perennial NBA leader in technicals and scowls.

During a timeout, it was announced that a fan would be asked to pick out the karaoke song being sung by a Celtic. Guess who that Celtic was? Wallace.

The 6-foot-11 inch Bonnie Tyler wannabe sang, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

Simon Cowell would have said, "That was dreadful." But it was wonderful, too.

Wallace knows everyone is watching him, and quite frankly, he doesn't care.

"I'm having fun," said Wallace. "I am very comfortable here. The guys have been great accepting me from the Day 1. I can't explain why. It just happened."

Wallace's game, though, is no surprise. He plays defense and he rebounds. Oh, yes, he hasn't met a 3-point shot he hasn't liked, throwing up eight last night (or one every two minutes).

"When he's on the floor with Kevin, you see the lane is open," said Pierce. "You have driving lanes because teams are helping off him because of the way he's shooting the ball. ... He's the total package — I mean on both ends of the floor."

Yes, he is the total package.

He's a Celtic. And he has personality.

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