There may have been times this season when you wondered if Mark Blount
really was worth all the fuss, not to mention the $38 million. Sunday
night (6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 18 minutes) might have been one of
those times. Last night was not.
Last night Blount delivered his first real macho game of the season, admittedly against an undersized foe. In the end, the Celtics'
7-footer played like one, and left the FleetCenter floor with 16
points, a season-high 16 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and a big hand in
the Celtics' 101-100 victory over the Bucks.
a night that will best be remembered for Paul Pierce getting yanked for
a two-minute "timeout" in the fourth quarter - and being none too
pleased - it was people such as Blount who made the big plays in helping
to their second straight win. Basketball operations chief Danny Ainge
even made a point of giving Blount a fist bump after the game (that's a
good thing, although it's funny seeing Ainge do it).
Rebounding is generally at or near the top of Doc Rivers's worry list before any game. There's a good reason for that. The Celtics
entered last night's game ranked 24th in rebounding and next-to-last in
offensive rebounding. Eight of Blount's rebounds were on the offensive
glass, as the Celtics scored 21 second-chance points.
about his haul on the glass - his previous season high had been 10 and
he was averaging only 5.5 - Blount shrugged and said, "It helped us win
the game. That's what it's all about. It helped us win the game."
of Blount's rebounds came in a wild fourth quarter that saw four lead
changes and two ties. He even picked up an assist on a Raef LaFrentz
hoop, swatting an errant Pierce shot back to the basket, where LaFrentz
guided it home. That was one of just two Boston baskets in the final
"He was big," LaFrentz said of Blount. "That was a great effort on the glass."
is why Ainge ponied up the big bucks last summer and why Rivers went
out of his way to convince the free agent Blount to come back to the Celtics.
They know they're not going to get twin 16s from him every night, but
this was a guy who averaged 10.3 points and 7.2 rebounds while being the
to go wire to wire last season. This season, he's averaging 10.5 points
and 6.2 rebounds; both LaFrentz and Pierce average more rebounds per
Until Monday night in
Orlando, Blount had failed to crack double figures on the boards this
season. He hauled in 10 against the Magic - this coming 24 hours after
his substandard submission in Miami. But the Orlando intake didn't come
until the 13th game of the season. There were more nights like Miami, or
the loss in Philadelphia (8 points, 3 rebounds), where Blount looked
out of sorts and out of synch. In the first 12 games, he grabbed as many
as eight rebounds only twice.
if he was being more aggressive on the boards last night, Blount said,
"That's just the way the game went." He pointed out that the Bucks are
an excellent shooting team, "but we got the stops we needed and went
from there." Asked which "16" meant more to him, he said, "I'd just like
for everyone to play team defense and move the ball on offense.
Whatever comes to me, I'm going to take it."
He took a lot of things last night, most of them good. The Celtics needed it all. On this night, he looked like one good investment.