The Raefster is No Pervis

November 26, 2005

Raef LaFrentz did a little bit of everything for the Celtics last night.

He hit a 3-pointer to tie the game in the final minutes. He won a jump ball in the final seconds. He helped execute the play that set up Paul Pierce's winning layup. 

The extra work is what the Celtics needed as they defeated Charlotte, 90-89, at the TD Banknorth Garden.

In his third season with the Celtics and his eighth in the NBA, LaFrentz said his responsibilities have varied in his career. As Pierce and Ricky Davis continue to provide the bulk of the offense, LaFrentz said he believes he can contribute in other ways.

"Keep it together," LaFrentz said. "We have talent on this team. Hopefully, I can be relied on to be somewhat consistent in all aspects because I can do a lot of things."

LaFrentz collected 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and 2 steals in 38 minutes last night. He led the Celtics in rebounds and blocked shots, and was third in scoring.

"Whatever you need, I think I'm capable of doing," he said. "I'm not a one-dimensional player, but I have strengths just like everyone else does. We have a lot of creators on this team. The ball is going to be in their hands a lot. It's our job to free them up, and in turn that's going to free us up."

The amount of little things LaFrentz was able to accomplish is what caught the attention of coach Doc Rivers.

"Raef was great," Rivers said. "His will, the blocked shots, that last pick that he set was a hell of a pick. He just made a lot of little plays and that was big for us."

In the first quarter, it was a steal that set up Davis's basket. In the third quarter, it was his drive to the basket for the hoop and a foul to give Boston a 64-58 lead.

In the fourth quarter, it was his block as Gerald Wallace attempted to move in for a layup. With the score tied at 82, LaFrentz drained a 3-pointer with 3:38 remaining.

And on the final play of the game, LaFrentz set the pick that helped clear the path for Pierce.

"I played more minutes tonight, so I had more opportunities to get more stats," LaFrentz said. "I was happy to be out there working. Hopefully, we can use this as a steppingstone. It was a much-needed victory around here."

The little extra from LaFrentz helped a team looking to jump-start its four-game homestand. The Celticswere 1-4 in their previous five games.

The problem most recently has been inconsistency defensively. It was an element that LaFrentz saw a difference in last night: whether it was Al Jefferson scrambling on the ground for a loose ball or Davis leaping in for a steal.

"I think we finally took pride in what we're doing defensively," LaFrentz said. "We got a group that did a good job."

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