Rookie Waters Impresses Off Bench as C's Fall to Wizards

WASHINGTON – On a night during which the Boston Celtics struggled offensively, rookie Tremont Waters proved to be a bright spot. Earning his fifth appearance of the season Monday night on the road against a red-hot Washington Wizards team, the two-way point guard came off the bench for a brief 7:39 of action and helped to create 11 points in impressive fashion.

While Waters’ eight-point, one-assist, one-steal effort ultimately wasn’t enough to hold off a 99-95 Wizards win, it was promising nonetheless to see his ability to score in bunches.

“I thought Tremont played well,” said Jaylen Brown, who led the C’s in scoring with 23 points. “I thought he came in and was aggressive, and I thought he came in and added to winning.”

It wasn’t a perfect start for Waters, who admitted to missing a play call soon after he first subbed into the game midway through the third quarter. Though, it didn’t take him long to settle down once he found his footing.

“It was fulfilling to stay out there longer and get into the flow of the game,” said Waters, who hadn’t seen more than five minutes of NBA action since Nov. 23, having spent most of the season with the Maine Red Claws of the G League. “It felt good.”

And it looked good, too. Waters scored six points during the final 4:30 of the third frame, which helped Boston to cut a seven-point deficit down to two entering the final quarter. He dropped in two more points early in the fourth quarter, and also assisted on a Grant Williams 3-pointer.

What was most impressive about the 5-foot-10 point guard’s scoring was that all eight of his points were produced via hard drives or cuts to the hoop. He would utilize jab-steps and up-fakes to throw his opponent off balance beyond the arc, before taking off like lightning and finishing acrobatically among much taller defenders.

“Tremont is just a bucket-getter,” said Brown. “He comes in, he’s super talented, he’s super skilled, he’s the smallest guy on the court, but probably one of the skilled guys on the court. When you put him in the game, he’s always looking to make something happen, and usually he does.”

The C’s were in desperate need of such a boost, as they were showing signs of fatigue during their third game in four nights.

“For nights like this, it’s tough,” said Marcus Smart, whose Celtics won the first two games of the weekend before falling to the Wizards. “Your legs are gone, guys get a little tired, but the development of those younger guys and those guys coming off the bench is huge for us because they come in and they saved us the last three games now and helped us from really getting demolished and having the game over for us early. So it’s important for us. They’re going to continue to get better and we’re going to need them down the stretch even more.”

In order to stay ready for those moments, Waters is making sure to take a level-headed approach.

“I’m just taking my time with everything, just embracing opportunities and taking a steady mindset of just getting better every day and staying ready,” he said. “Then everything that’s going to play out will take care of itself.”

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