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Since Jared Sullinger went down for the season with a back injury, the C’s have struggled to find another “blue collar” guy. Wilcox simply has not had enough time on the floor, and Bass just does not fit that mold. But then along came Shav.
Baxter Holmes of the Globe writes:
Jerry Quarry was a top heavyweight contender in the 1960s and ’70s who routinely got his face rearranged by some of boxing’s finest — Ali, Frazier, Patterson.
The undersized but rugged Californian had a tough left hook, strong chin, and never backed down, but he cut easily, his mug often looking like a fresh crime scene by the late rounds.
And it is this former boxer, who was known as Irish Jerry and posted a pro record of 53-9-4, that Celtics coach Doc Rivers felt was an apt comparison for forward Shavlik Randolph.
“He leads with his face, like Jerry Quarry,” Rivers said Sunday after the Celtics knocked out the Washington Wizards, 107-96, at TD Garden.
Near the end of the Celtics victory, in which he recorded 8 points and had 7 rebounds in 15 gritty minutes, Randolph sat on the bench with both nostrils stuffed with what looked like tissue to quell another of his nosebleeds, an almost nightly occurrence.
“I feel like I’m a boxer or something,” Randolph said. “I’m getting hit, like, every game. I got hit so hard in the Memphis Grizzlies game a few weeks back. Since then, every time it gets hit, it starts bleeding. I feel like Rocky Balboa or something.”
Randolph plays a bruising game, throwing around his 6-foot-10-inch, 236-pound frame beneath the rim, banging into bodies, jockeying for position. He absorbs blows, such as a flagrant foul from John Wall, who hammered Randolph on a fast break.
“He’s just rugged,” Rivers said.
But, as he has done more and more recently, Randolph got the crowd in a stir by stringing together several hustle plays shortly after checking in.
He entered the game with 7:30 left in the first quarter to give Kevin Garnett a breather. A minute and a half later, he grabbed a defensive rebound. He added a dunk, grabbed two more rebounds, then scored a layup while being fouled, making the free throw.
The Celtics scored 8 consecutive points once he checked in during the tide-turning third quarter, and overall they outscored the Wizards by 10 when Randolph was on the floor.
Moreover, Rivers made Randolph, not Chris Wilcox, his first big man off the bench to substitute for Garnett.
“Shav is playing unbelievable basketball,” said Garnett. “I think he’s finding his little niche in here.”
In his last six games, Randolph is averaging 7.2 points on 74 percent shooting (17 of 23) and 5.5 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.
In the six games he played before that, Randolph was averaging 2.8 points on 44 percent shooting (8 of 18) and 3.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes.
“I think I’ve got a little rhythm with that second group and knowing just what my role is going to be when I go out there,” Randolph said. “It’s very simple. I know, especially with Kevin back, I’m not going to be playing extended minutes.