In some sense, it’s surprising that Delonte West somehow looked relatively rustless tonight. He’s been back for just three games. He played in all of eight games before that. His season’s been a traffic jam with a suspension and nagging injuries stopping him when he wants to go.
Then, when he finally gets on the floor, he’s sharp. Doc Rivers trusts him to run the offense. He’s able to provide a spark. He was one of the catalysts in the Celtics 89-85 win tonight.
“Usually, a guy misses so many games you can see him getting winded and kind of not knowing the plays,” West said. “It just seems like he never has a letdown. Every time he comes back from an injury, it’s like he’s been there already, because he stays prepared.”
West scored 9 points, working like jumper cables for a Celtics team that needed a jump after halftime simply by providing energy and playmaking, “just going out there playing tough defense, picking up in the areas we might be slacking, that’s my game,” West said.
He combined with Jeff Green and Glen Davis to scored the Celtics’ 39 bench points as Rivers shortened the rotation to a playoff-like three men off the bench.
“We’ve been missing him all year,” Davis said. “The things that he’s capable of doing, the way he plays the game, how unselfish he is, the way he sees the floor. He helps us a lot.”
Playing in spurts is something he’s comfortable with.
“From my time in Cleveland coming off the bench last year, I wasn’t able to sit and watch,” West said. “And me being a high-energy player, a guy that brings intensity playing three-, four- minute spurts that’s perfect for me. I can come in and I can hound after somebody or change the tempo, put another ballhandler on the floor, that’s what I do.”