Posey Thinking Playoffs
There's a point in a conversation with Celtics forward James Posey when he stops looking at you and starts looking at the next two months.
He's talking playoffs these days, which to him is infinitely more exciting than anything else basketball has to offer.
Posey hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade in Miami in 2006. The year before that, he helped turn the Memphis Grizzlies from a perennial doormat into one of the Western Conference's top eight.
So when he starts thinking about the playoffs again, the conversation stops and he goes through the itinerary in his mind. He has to know everything.
"Everybody on the roster," he said. "How many times a week they eat eggs for breakfast, how many times they might go to the corner store."
Everything helps, he said.
Posey has been to the playoffs every year since 2004. Before Sam Cassell brought his two championships into the locker room, Posey was the only player on the Celtics' roster with championship experience.
"He's a champion," Rajon Rondo said of Posey. "He knows what it takes to win. He's been through situations. He's been through a lot of adversity, as well. He's a great leader. He's a great veteran guy to have on your team."
But he still treats every postseason like it's his first, and last. Alonzo Mourning taught him that in Miami, and Posey plans on passing that along in Boston.
Posey is known for saying things like: "We've got tickets" when Kevin "Big Ticket" Garnett scores, "You can't handle the Truth" when Paul Pierce gets on the board, and "It's time for the Perk-olator" when Kendrick Perkins hits a shot. But he's saving Mourning's nugget.
"When the time is right," Posey said.
For now, he'll let his past speak for itself, and not just the championship season in Miami, but those years in Memphis, too.
In 2004, when the Grizzlies earned the sixth seed in the playoffs, Posey was their leader in steals, No. 2 scorer, and No. 3 rebounder. "We never could have won 50 games and got in the playoffs and be in the top six teams in the [conference] if I did not have James Posey," said Hubie Brown, who coached the Grizzlies at the time.
Brown, now an analyst for ABC and ESPN, remembers Posey doing the same things for his team he now does for the Celtics, particularly the 3-point shooting
Posey seemingly takes a million of them after every practice. "Not a million," he said, "but it's a routine." Set shots, in transition, from all around the arc, so when the game comes, it's second nature.
"He did it consistently for us and from there to Miami, where they needed that type of shooting," Brown said. "He is also doing that in Boston. When you have guys that are double-teamed like the Big Three, off the move like [in Memphis] where we had [Pau] Gasol, and in Miami where they had Shaq and Wade, a James Posey is a godsend for you because he can make that crucial shot with the clock going down."
Posey doesn't appear to have the quickest feet. But Brown said he can defend anyone from a point guard to a power forward.
"Plus, he's a tough guy, a tough kid, and will rebound the ball for you when the game is on the line," said Brown.
Posey is on the books for $3.2 million this season with a player option for $3.4 million next season. He won't talk about a contract extension until after the season, which is also the philosophy of Danny Ainge.
Conversations with Posey only go so far these days. He's all about focusing.
The year the Grizzlies won 50 games, they ended the regular season with four straight losses, albeit against the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, and the Timberwolves, and were swept by San Antonio in the first round.
When the Heat won it all in 2006, they came into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak, letting the Bulls, Hawks, and Celtics steal wins.
Posey said the difference was focus.
"That Miami team," he said, "we didn't start playing good basketball until around March. We weren't as focused until then going into the end of the regular season, into the playoffs. This [Celtics] team has been focused since Day 1."
And there aren't many days left until the playoffs.
"I'm feeling it a little bit," Posey said. "That's what it's about. Getting in your zone. Getting prepared. Ain't no hesitation. Ain't no second-guessing. Nothing. Just know what you've got to do.
"It's hard to explain, you've just got to be in it."
Pierce will miss tonight's game against the Bobcats because he and his fiancee, Julie Landrum, welcomed a baby girl yesterday at 5:40 p.m. Prianna Lee weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.
It'll be the first game Pierce has missed all season. The Celtics need a win (or a Detroit loss) to clinch home court throughout the playoffs.