First Kevin Garnett. Then Paul Pierce.
"Hey Steph," each of them called from the trainer's room. "Let me see your shoes."
Stephon Marbury smirked. He may be a Celtic now, but he's kept his New York sense of style since moving to Boston. Tonight's runway debut? A pair of reddish-brown boots that Garnett and Pierce found hilarious.
"You only started dressing up after the rule," Marbury shouted back at Pierce, referring to the NBA-mandated dress code.
The ribbing was good-natured, but it highlighted one fact: It's been an adjustment for Marbury in Boston on, and off, the court.
"He’s really coming along," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "You can see the difference in Steph, when he first got here and now. He’s just aggressive right now. And that’s what we need him to do."
Marbury had five assists to just one turnover tonight against the Nets, leading a bench unit which outscored New Jersey by double-figures in a two-point game. The former Knick had just four points, but scoring isn't the goal for Marbury at the moment.
"I'm trying to run the team," said Marbury. "As a point guard, coming in here so late, it’s an adjustment. It’s something that’s on the fly, but at the same time you work on everything and eventually you get it.”
Marbury got into the lane all night against the Nets, finding Eddie House for three-pointers in the corner on several occasions. He said he's starting to learn how the Celtics run their offense.
"The last two practices I’ve just been getting it, getting into a rhythm of what they do offensively," said Marbury. "Defensively it’s kind of simple because all you have to do is play hard and the setup and the concepts are pretty much the same. But offensively you've got to learn what you want to get out of the offense, knowing when to be aggressive...I’m learning that, I’m adjusting.”
With career averages of 19.3 points and 7.7 assists, Marbury should be given some credit for taking a back seat in Boston (though he did admit tonight that coming off the bench is by far the hardest adjustment he has had to make). He's been nothing but a good soldier in Boston so far.
When asked if he thinks he can help the Celtics in the playoffs, Marbury said, "Oh yeah. I’ll be able to do that."
“They pretty much won the game," said Pierce. "Doc could of probably left them in the whole game and it probably wouldn’t have been as close of a game. They gave great energy. Stephon is doing a great job defensively, getting into the defense, finding guys, Eddie House is shooting lights out right now, Mikki Moore is being active. We’re extremely happy with the way the bench is coming in and picking up the starters when we’re down.”
Said Rajon Rondo, "We have the best bench in the league."