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Brad Stevens on Jabari Parker’s Celtics debut: “pretty good for his first night”


After signing with the Celtics the day prior to this, Jabari Parker was rapidly given the possibility to make an impression within the first quarter towards the visiting Golden State Warriors. The early returns supplied the form of inconsistencies which have plagued a profession that hasn’t lived as much as expectations.

Upon checking into the sport with below 5 minutes remaining within the opening quarter, Parker instantly turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, first by attempting to hit Marcus Sensible on the other wing earlier than fumbling a cross after reducing by the paint the subsequent time down.

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He crashed the offensive glass exhausting sufficient to come back away with two rebounds and 4 factors. He additionally allowed Juan Toscano-Anderson to simply blow by him on the baseline for a reverse layup, which Jeff Van Gundy instantly identified as a facet Parker wanted to work on.

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Parker little question had some rust to shake off having performed fewer than half-hour throughout all the season, however he wasn’t on the lookout for a brand new house this late into the season by chance. He’s performed on 4 groups within the final three years for a purpose. Which is to say that as notable a signing as the previous No. 2 general decide was, Parker’s antiquated offensive model and extreme defensive limitations ought to’ve tempered expectations about what his function may very well be in Boston.

With a noticeably skinny bench within the absence of Jaylen Brown, Evan Fournier, and Robert Williams, Brad Stevens gave Parker a shot early on. However in an in depth recreation whose depth solely grew because it progressed, it was exhausting to check Stevens discovering any extra probabilities to supply the most recent Celtic in his debut.

Besides, that’s precisely what Stevens did, inserting Parker again right into a four-point recreation with 3:01 left within the third. What adopted till the 6:09 mark of the fourth wasn’t as very important to Boston’s 119-114 victory as Jayson Tatum’s 44 factors, Kemba’s 26, or Sensible’s well timed performs, but it surely was fairly the addition to assist a depleted staff win its sixth straight recreation.

By Stevens’ personal admission, Boston lacked a scoring punch to start out the fourth quarter. Tatum and Walker missed their first pictures of the body because the Warriors scored 5 unanswered to take a five-point lead with Stephen Curry on the bench.

After making simply considered one of their first 4 pictures to open the quarter, Stevens known as a timeout and arrange a play for Parker, who had established some momentum with three factors in three minutes to complete out the third. He carved out a submit up simply outdoors the restricted space earlier than going to work towards Kevon Looney.

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Amid the fixed staff switching in addition to two ACL surgical procedures, it’s simple to neglect how simply Parker can put the ball within the basket at occasions. He’s had that footwork and mid-range contact going again to his lone season at Duke.

Going as small as Boston did is all the time dangerous, however Tristan Thompson wanted a breather, Williams was inactive, and Luke Kornet was a minus-6 within the 5 and a half minutes he noticed within the second quarter. So, Stevens opted for talent and made positive to make the most of it to jumpstart the offense. Boston hit three of its subsequent 5 pictures to take a one-point lead earlier than Parker was subbed out for Thompson.

“Nicely, we went by that stretch at first of the fourth quarter the place we wanted to attain,” Stevens stated. “He (Parker) gave us some alternatives there each within the first half and the second when he performed on the baseline and performed to his strengths and did a number of good issues.”

Parker completed his Celtic debut 5-of-6 from the sector for 11 factors in 16 minutes, a useful scoring punch within the absence of Brown and Fournier. Extra spectacular than the full within the scoring column was the way it got here to be with 4 offensive rebounds resulting in eight of these factors.

“We simply inform him to go on the market and play as exhausting as you possibly can,” Sensible stated of his latest teammate. “The whole lot else will fall into it. We’ll work you into the performs and we’ll stroll you thru them. Don’t fear about that. Simply go play exhausting.”

His effort was notably rewarded within the fourth quarter, the place a swindling of Kent Bazemore left him in an ideal place to wash up a Sensible airball and provides Boston the lead again.

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On a staff that, when wholesome, doesn’t lack gamers who can put the ball within the basket themselves, the Celtics don’t want Parker to revitalize a fallen profession that pegged him as the subsequent nice scorer again in 2014. They want precisely what they acquired in his debut: vitality and energy to contribute to the movement of the sport with out attempting to overhaul it.

That mentality is what helped him rebound from an iffy begin in his first minutes to turning heads within the ultimate stretch. It’s additionally what’s going to in the end outline the most recent cease in a profession that’s been in the hunt for stability for a number of years now. With Boston attempting to maintain tempo with the juggernauts of the East, Stevens sounds more than pleased to supply Parker the chance to assist this staff.

“He’ll decide up our protection as time goes on and we gotta work out the right way to greatest play with him on each ends,” Stevens stated. “However fairly good for his first night time.”


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