Jefferson keeps movin’ up in Boston
(Sports Network) – Boston Celtics forward Al Jefferson cracked the starting
lineup in early December, and has made head coach Doc Rivers look like a
genius ever since the switch.
Rivers inserted Jefferson into the starting lineup on December 6 against the
Memphis Grizzlies and the young star posted nine points and a game-high
12 rebounds in a losing effort. Jefferson is averaging a double-double since
being named a starter, recording 14.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 21 starts.
Jefferson, who is doing the best he can while star Paul Pierce nurses an
injured foot, was averaging 9.3 points and 7.0 boards a night before becoming
one of the starting five. Now Jefferson, the 15th selection in the 2004 NBA
Draft, is averaging 13.2 points and 10.3 rebounds for the season. Pierce will
be examined to see if he can remove the protective boot from his left foot.
Last month Jefferson, the second-leading scorer on the team, posted 11 games
with double figures in rebounds. He averaged 10.7 rebounds in 15 games during
December after recording 12 double-figure rebounding games over his first 141
contests with Boston. He was a lion on the boards against Detroit on January
13 this season with 22 rebounds. It was the most since Mark Blount pulled down
21 boards against Orlando on March 1, 2004.
Meanwhile, guard Gerald Green has started eight games this season and is
averaging 16.75 points and 5.0 rebounds over that span. Green and rookie Rajon
Rondo have filled in nicely and are seeing more time with guard Delonte West
out of the lineup to heal his sore back.
West has missed the last four games because of the problem and is averaging
9.1 points and 2.4 assists this season. Also, forward Wally Szczerbiak has
been out the previous four games with two injured ankles. Boston’s second-
leading scorer is posting 16.9 points and 3.5 rebounds a game this season.
In other injury news, guard Tony Allen underwent successful anterior cruciate
ligament reconstructive surgery along with cartilage repair to his left knee
on Wednesday. Allen, who is out indefinitely, is averaging 11.5 points, 3.8
rebounds and 1.48 steals in 33 games this season.
The Celtics are struggling as of late, but are still just five games off the
lead in the weak Atlantic Division. They have dropped five straight and are an
abysmal 2-12 over the previous 14 contests.
Boston will return to the hardwood on Friday night against the Sacramento
Kings at TD Banknorth Arena. The Celtics are just 4-13 in Beantown this season
and 8-12 as the visitor.