CLEVELAND – Carsen Edwards might as well change his name to Arson Edwards, because he nearly burnt the house down Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Edwards put on a shooting display unlike any the Boston Celtics have seen in recent memory – and maybe unlike any they’ve seen in their entire storied history.
The rookie guard threw nothing but flames at the onset of the second half against the Cavaliers, torching the nets with eight 3-pointers in a span of just five minutes and six seconds. Edwards cooked every Cavaliers player who stood in front of him while making four treys from the top of the arc, two from the right wing, one from the right corner, and one from the left wing.
Most of the attempts were from well beyond the 3-point line, and one was nearly from the logo at mid-court.
The jaw-dropping performance left many inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in disbelief, including his coach, Brad Stevens.
“It was, how many? Eight? Eight in five minutes?” the coach asked after the game. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Neither had his teammate, Tremont Waters, who at one point feared for his own life due to the heat Edwards was giving off.
“I just didn’t want to get burnt,” he joked, “so I tried to stay away from him.”
Edwards must have cooled off with a postgame shower, because media members went unharmed while standing around him and questioning him about his incredible performance. He explained to them the feeling of being so locked in, and referenced his 42-point performance against Virginia in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament as the only other time he had felt that hot.
“That’s just one thing – once you kind of find your groove and your rhythm, it’s kinda like a heat check,” he said. “You see that go in and you kinda just keep going.”
He kept on going, and going, and going, no matter how the offense flowed.
Edwards consistently found a way to get his shot off, be it with one-on-one moves, with off-ball cuts, or by firing up shots from areas of the court where defenses simply shouldn’t need to defend. He took what the defense gave him, and then gave the Celtics exactly what they needed.
To the rookie’s credit, he did not bask in the glory of his performance following the game. He instead opted to praise his teammates for freeing him up for quality looks and finding him with timely passes.
“I mean, my teammates, they kept looking for me, setting good screens and things like that,” said Edwards. “It’s a blessing to have this opportunity, even if it’s preseason, man. You dream to be in positions like this, to be in the NBA with good guys.”
Now, those good guys feel like they’re dreaming while watching him light the building up.
Tuesday’s performance stands as evidence to anyone who watched that Edwards can catch fire in the NBA just as quickly as he did at the collegiate level, where he scored nearly 2,000 points at Purdue. His coach surely took notice.
“I thought what was the most encouraging part of the whole performance was I didn’t think he was very good in the first half,” said Stevens, “and for him to be able to re-center and play and come out of the gates like that in the second (half), that’s a great thing for a coach to learn about somebody.”
Stevens continued, “You always know that he’s probably one time from hitting the net away from getting hot. I think he lives on heat-check, and he should.”
Here’s another ‘should’: the Celtics and their counterparts should install temperature gauges and fire extinguishers around the court in preparation for the heat this guy could bring to any given arena at any given moment.
If they don’t, Arson Edwards might just burn the house down, like he nearly did Tuesday night.
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