After Award, Jefferson Is Center of Attention
WALTHAM - When Al Jefferson got a mid-morning phone call from Doc Rivers on an off-day Monday, he figured he was in trouble.
Instead, Rivers was calling to congratulate Jefferson on his first ever Eastern Conference Player of the Week award.
Upon hearing the news, Jefferson thanked Rivers for the minutes and the opportunity to win the award, but Rivers wouldn't hear any of that.
"I didn't give you those. You earned those," Rivers said he told Jefferson. "You earned those minutes and deserve everything you get, but this is not a sign that you've made it. It's a sign that you're making it."
A four-game winning streak and a little national recognition for Jefferson drew more than double the usual media contingent to the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint on Tuesday. Surrounded by cameras, Rivers talked about the improvements that Jefferson has made on both sides of the ball this season, while Jefferson joked that the only thing you get for winning the Player of the Week award was "your name on the bottom of the screen on NBA TV."
To his credit, Jefferson seems to be taking the attention with a pretty casual attitude, and he's delivered on his preseason promise to average a double-double.
Green Last To Leave
While his teammates were granting interviews to the media, Gerald Green quietly went about his business after practice Tuesday, working his way around the perimeter shooting threes with Assistant Coach Kevin Eastman, then practicing his ballhandling up the sideline with some dribbling drills.
Despite winning the Slam Dunk contest, Green says he really didn't get too much extra attention on the road trip right after All-Star Weekend.
"It wasn't really too bad," Green said.
He also reports that his toothache was taken care of and it's no longer an issue.
West Finds Direction in Second Half
Delonte West had a strange game in Sunday's double-overtime win over the Timberwolves. After a first half in which he had five assists but zero points on 0-2 shooting, West dropped a career-high 31 points on 8-11 FGs, and he added five more assists as well.
Rivers said West wasn't making good decisions and wasn't recognizing when he was the best option to shoot the ball. But after he delivered his message at halftime, West turned it around and started looking for his own shot. Fifteen of his points came in the two overtime sessions.
"It wasn't so much what he said to me, but the way he looked at me. He just kind of looked at me like, 'I need more out of you.' He demanded more out of me, and I wanted to show him that I can give him more. That's what a point guard has to have, I have to be more verbal and vocal on the floor."
Rivers certainly has confidence in West's offensive abilities, and he knows he can look to him to make shots when the game is on the line. And when opponents are in situations where they need to foul at the end of a game to get the ball back, West is the man the Celtics want taking the free throws to seal the victory.
"He's not scared to take a big shot. There's no coincidence that he's the guy who caught the ball to get fouled. Delonte can shoot the basketball, and when he's ready to shoot the ball he's a better shooter."
He's also learning to be more vocal on the floor, and more demonstrative about showing guys where to be when the Celtics get into their offense. West says that with Paul Pierce back in the lineup, his role doesn't really change, but that the team is getting closer to having five guys on the floor who can lead themselves.
"We're starting to understand that there's five leaders on the floor," West said. "When you've got five guys who can make a play, you've got a hell of a team on your hands."