Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Courtney just came out and played,” said C’s coach Doc Rivers. “He didn’t think about if he was starting, or not starting, how many minutes, who’s playing. He played basketball tonight. When he does that, he’s a great basketball player.”
Kevin Garnett was among the Celtics who recognized Lee having one of his stronger performances as a Celtic.
And it could not have come on a better night with Rajon Rondo (right ankle) unable to play.
“With Rondo out, everybody had to pitch in and do different things tonight,” said Kevin Garnett. “Courtney played great tonight. His energy, and the fact that the was going from Joe (Johnson) to Deron (Williams) to whoever else had it going, I thought his energy was good tonight.”
I said in the game preview the either Lee or Leandro Barbosa would find room to score, and both did. While Barbosa finished with 17, Lee hit 4 of 8 for 13 points. But more impressive is his career high 9 rebounds:
“The defensive scheme that we were in, we were having one of the bigs show on Joe Johnson when he was posting up so it was leaving two bigs down low,” Lee said. “We had to come back and help the bigs because they helped us when we needed help. I was just trying to get in and get my hands dirty a little bit.”
I know the Celtics lost the game, but IF they gained a more confident Lee in a breakout performance, having Rondo sit out was worth it. In the long-term, the Celtics need Lee to be productive more than they need a November win against the Nets.
One thing is clear, though… Lee is better off the ball. That could cost him time if Leandro Barbosa continues to play well. The Celtics are going to need someone to bring the ball up when Rondo sits, and I’d rather it not be Avery Bradley upon his return. It’s looking like the job will fall to Barbosa, or Jason Terry.
That will mean Lee has to earn his minutes in other ways. One way is to figure out his shot and become a dead-eye from the corners. The other is to do other things, like defend like crazy and maybe grab more rebounds. Games like last night will do just fine.
Related links: ESPN Boston: Shots falling for Lee
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Without Rondo, C’s fall to Nets | ESPN Boston: Foul game worked for Nets | Just wasn’t meant to be | Rapid reaction | WEEI: Celtics have to figure out what they have with Jeff Green | Herald: Ankle shelves Rondo | Nets get physical | Globe: Rondo misses game at Brooklyn | Minus Rondo, C’s lose