Pinkney Stages Unlikely Breakout in NBA Debut

Kevinn Pinkney

Kevinn Pinkney opened some eyes in his NBA debut Wednesday night, scoring 15 points in his 21 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks. Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty

By Peter F. Stringer
April 5, 2007

You can be forgiven if you don't know Kevinn Pinkney doesn't spell his first name with just one "n", or you're confusing him with Ed Pinckney for that matter.

As Mike Gorman pointed out, the Milwaukee Bucks clearly didn't have him in their scouting report, and apparently, the NBA is still trying to figure out who he is, too.

During Wednesday night's game at the Bradley Center, Pinkney wasn't even showing up in the box score on despite leading the Celtics in scoring (11 points) in his first eight minutes in the NBA.

The glitch was fixed by the time the second half started, and suddenly the NBA has a good idea of what Pinkney can bring to the table. Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was certainly impressed.

"Kevinn played tremendous. We needed a guy to make shots and he played unbelievably," Rivers said after the Celtics' 98-89 loss to the Bucks. "I wish we could've run something [for him], we were really stuck with the one set but I liked what we were running because we kept getting shots. He fired the whole team up, which is really nice."

An undrafted free agent who's been cut by Portland, Atlanta, Washington, Pinkney was toiling in the NBDL for the Bakersfield Jam when he was signed to a 10-day contract by the Celtics on Wednesday. Pinkney was an NBDL All-Star and was averaging 18.7 PPG and 7.2 RG in 38 games for the Jam.

Down to just eight healthy bodies when Al Jefferson injured his left knee in a practice collision with Ryan Gomes, the Celtics were desperate to bring in another body. But they couldn't have expected such productivity out of a guy who'd never before set foot on an NBA floor.

Pinkney finished the game with 15 points, two rebounds and a block in just over 21 minutes, and now he has a nice highlight tape for the resume as well.

"I kept looking to my teammates who were getting me the ball in a place that I could put the ball up," Pinkney said. "They had a lot of confidence in me to make shots; luckily I made a couple shots. The first one was a confidence builder, got the jitters out, after that I was ready to go."

Rivers was pleased that Pinkney didn't hesitate to take advantage of his opportunity.

"What's impressive to me is that he was on the floor for one minute and he grabbed the ball and shot it," Rivers said. "I love guys who have the 'when in doubt, shoot' thought. That's the way you should play."

Add West To Injury List

Delonte West gave the Celtics another injury scare when he stepped on a foot on his way to the basket and rolled his right ankle midway through the third quarter. West, who finished with 10 points, did not return to the game but Rivers seems to think that West will be back in the lineup on Friday against the Heat at the Garden.

"Delonte's not bad...He twisted it on the first play of the third quarter, and limped around, I just took him out. It is swollen, but he'll play Friday would be my guess," Rivers said. "We have no choice; he almost has to play. Honestly, we don't have another guy. We're not going to get another guy."

Happy Birthday, Hondo

NBA TV will celebrate Hall of Famer John Havlicek's 67th birthday on Sunday, April 8, by replaying his final NBA game. On April 9, 1978, Havlicek, who helped lead the Celtics to eight championships, scored 29 points and addded nine assists as the Celtics beat the Buffalo Braves 131-114 at the Boston Garden.