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NEW YORK – With eight minutes left to play, Evan Turner needed five rebounds for a triple-double. It seemed unlikely he’d grab them before time expired.
About 20 minutes after the game was over, Turner had his second career triple-double in the bag, and a gold grill in his mouth as he talked to reporters. Given the 110-91 win over the Nets in Brooklyn, the mood in the locker room was light.
Turner told the media that the he was wearing the grill as a gag to make his teammates laugh, and explained that he wasn’t aware of his potential triple-double until someone clued him in from courtside.
“I heard a guy in the crowd, me and Tyler (Zeller) were talking, and he was like ‘Zeller give Evan one more rebound don’t touch the ball’ and (Zeller) was like, ‘I guess you’ve got a triple-double,’” Turner said. “So I boxed somebody out to go get the ball and that’s what occurred.”
Turner finished the game with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and just two turnovers. He was one of six Celtics who scored in double figures, mixing up his attack with baseline fade-aways and strong takes to the rack.
Turner, who notched the second triple-double of his season and of his career, joins some elite company in Celtics history. Larry Bird (69), Rajon Rondo (32), Antoine Walker (13) and Paul Pierce (10) are the only other Celtics who've notched multiple triple-doubles in their career with the franchise.
As for Turner, he appears to be improving as the season progresses, and seems to be at his best when he’s got the ball in his hands.
“I grew up playing with the ball in my hands and it’s been more advantageous for me and that’s why I got drafted so high; I was playing the situation,” Turner said. “Once again, my teammates made a lot of shots and a lot of great plays and they made me look better.”
Brad Stevens talked about Turner’s contributions afterward, and noted that he was finally comfortable after playing for four different coaches in four seasons.
“He knows how to play and every night he fills the box score – maybe not to that level,” Stevens said. “He was really good with the ball tonight. He was making great decisions off of the pick and roll. He was aggressive from the start.”
Not only was the scoring balanced for the Celtics, but seven different players grabbed five ore more rebounds. It was a total team effort that gave the Celtics a much-needed win in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
With the night over and the Charlotte Hornets taking a loss, the Celtics will wake up in eighth place in the East. They return home on Wednesday to host the Miami Heat, who are in the seventh spot as of Monday night.