Jabari Parker didn’t have time to gain Brad Stevens’ trust.
There was no practice between the time he signed with the Celtics on Friday and Saturday’s 20:30 game with the Warriors. He participated on Saturday morning, released a new T-shirt number 20 and dressed for a very important game in TD Garden. No one would be surprised if he played only a few minutes in low-pressure areas, just a day after joining the team.
Instead, he played a big part in Boston̵
Brad Stevens didn’t wait to make it easy. He scored Parker for Jason Tatum with 4:50 in the first quarter. Parker turned the ball twice in his first minute. But once those were out of his system, he settled down. He had an immersion in an offensive ricochet to stop an earlier 12-0 warrior and had four points in six minutes in the first half.
And yet, even when Jaylan Brown came out, the idea of going to Parker much lower seemed unlikely. He has not played since March 15 or attempted a shot since February 21. The former Duke star played just three games throughout the season for Sacramento before being released on March 25.
But even the rusty Parker offered more insult than Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams, or Sammy Ojeli. So Stevens returned to him.
“We went through that stretch at the beginning of the fourth quarter where we had to score,” Stevens said. “He gave us some opportunities there. But in the first half and the second he played at the baseline and played to the best of his ability. He did a lot of good things. He will take our defense over time and we will figure out how best to play with him from both ends. “
On the move, however, it turned out quite well. Located in the right corner, when Marcus Smart stopped for a 3-point with just under 8 minutes and the Celtics with a one-point, Parker threw himself around Kent Bazemor to catch the sinking balloon and set it to score Boston with 97 -96.
Stevens brought it back with 1:52 in the game. Parker didn’t score, but by then he had done enough for Draymond Green to keep him open to everyone else.
Parker had seven points in 10 minutes in the second half and finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
Smart was impressed.
“We just told him, ‘Go out and play as hard as you can. We will include you in the plays and take you through them. Don’t worry about it, just go play hard. ‘He did very well,’ said Smart. “We were definitely delighted with the way he came out. Not knowing the system, he just played basketball. After engaging more in plays and learning, everything else with nets even more. For the first time there he played very well and we are proud of him. “
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