Leon Powe had a career-high tonight with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Powe went from being completely out of the rotation in the first half of the season to providing crucial scoring and rebounding off the bench down the stretch.
His lunch-pail attitude contributes to his success. Teammates and coaches say Leon hits the weight room hard and brings intensity to every practice. He’s also extremely humble, always deflecting praise.
“I was just trying to get out there and do something to help my team,” Powe said after tonight’s game. “Just go out there and play hard on defense, and be aggressive on the offensive end when I get the chance.”
The Nets didn’t have much to talk about tonight, but coach Laurence Frank praised Powe’s play.
“He was extremely active,” said Frank. “I think when you look at Leon, he is a huge effort player. I know he had other big games, but tonight it was a career-high so you have to give him a lot of credit.”
When asked if Powe would be a regular part of the playoff rotation, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he would continue to use a selection of big men, with Powe being a part of that group.
“Leon is absolutely playing terrific, and I’m very happy for him,” said Rivers. “It’s really nice when you think about who he is. He’s going to help us, no doubt about that.”
Paul Pierce had the highest praise for Powe after the game.
“Leon has come as far as anybody we’ve seen in the last year,” said Pierce. “I don’t think there’s been a better second-year player during this second half of the season than Leon Powe. You’ve got to throw [Rajon] Rondo in there, but Leon’s been phenomenal because he’s exceeded so many people’s expectations.”