Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Let's Go Back to the Well
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
It's been an absolutely crazy couple of days since Leon had his memorable performance in the game 2 win. The national media attention Leon has received is more than I could have dreamed about. I knew Leon had that kind of game in him, but I never thought he'd get the opportunity to show it during the NBA Championship. So I guess I'll give Doc Rivers credit for actually believing in Leon a little bit.
The national media seems to think Leon just came out of his shell for the first time on the biggest stage. The truth is Leon's been out of his shell before but Doc Rivers always puts him back in it. Whenever Leon has a great game it's usually followed up by 2 minutes the next game, then a stretch of not touching the floor at all after that. It will be interesting to see how Doc handles this situation especially with the way the media will take it if Leon only plays a couple minutes in game 3. Normally Doc will say, "it's just Big Baby's turn to play right now" and then Leon will sit on the bench despite showing a lot of promise. It's the reason Leon hasn't been able to show nationally what he's capable of before. The fans in Boston have seen Leon's great flashes, but they've also seen those great flashes somehow result in Leon sitting on the bench in the games after. Doc knows he's at risk of looking like a real moron if he doesn't play Leon a lot and the Celtics lose. So I expect Leon to get some minutes for that reason.
I'll give Doc some credit for telling his guys to get Leon the ball when he went in there. Luke Walton has no chance of stopping Leon and Rivers actually saw that. Although Leon didn't score every play he is excellent at using his body and drawing fouls. He earned every trip to the free throw line and Phil Jackson knows it. Phil's just playing head games with the refs. Ya no, Zen Master stuff. But that's another reason why Leon had such a break out game. For the first time during the playoffs the Celtics actually went to him. Leon does a good job being a garbage guy and cleaning up the offensive glass, but he's even better as a go to guy. Powe could have been doing this throughout the playoffs if the Celtics decided to actually make him an option. Hopefully the Celtics and Doc Rivers now realize that Leon could torch the Lakers the whole series if they wanted him to. So please Doc, Lets go back to the well! Keep feeding Leon the ball!
Interesting Stat: The Celtics are 23-2 when Leon scores over 10 points, and 5-0 when he scores over 20.