Scal's Finest

A Daily Babble Production

Apparently, the gorilla game isn't all it's cracked up to be.  At least not when the redhead is around.

Amare Stoudemire told the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro this weekend that he was about to "get [his] gorilla game on."  This had something to do with domination, according to the Phoenix big man.

There wasn't any of that to be found from him last night at the New Garden in Beantown, and the biggest reason for that was none other than Brian Scalabrine himself.

Disclaimer:  Yes, I wrote the opening to this piece with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I've gushed at least twice previously on the improvement of Amare's offensive arsenal and how much I enjoy watching him.  It goes without saying that there is generally no comparison between Stoudemire and the guy who guarded him for the Celtics last night.

But for one evening in Boston, Scal had STAT's number. 

With Kevin Garnett and at times Glen Davis facing the task of defending Shaquille O'Neal in the absence of Kendrick Perkins, the redhead stepped up to make sure that his partner in the frontcourt wasn't an issue.  He refused to allow him any breathing room inside and bumped Stoudemire as much as the referees would allow him below the foul line.  Just about each of Stoudemire's seven field goal attempts came challenged, and there is no telling how many more would-be shots were discouraged by the Celtics' swarming defense.  Seven shots in 30 minutes played is rather low for a guy who takes more than 14 shots in his 37 minutes per game.  It's especially low for a guy promising to display his gorilla game in short order.

Forget being a liability at the defensive end.  Scal did just about everything right.  Normally forced into foul trouble by his lack of quickness, he committed just two fouls on the evening and none in the first half.  He blocked a shot and was integral in forcing some of Amare Stoudemire's four turnovers.  One of those in particular came as a result of Scalabrine's best play of the evening: After getting switched from STAT to Shaq on one particular play, Scal slid across the lane to plant himself just outside the restricted area as Stoudemire broke to the basket against Kevin Garnett.  Scal remained stationary and took the hit from Stoudemire, resulting in a hard-earned offensive foul call.  Beautiful.

Indeed, Scalabrine missed several open looks at the offensive end and shot just 2-for-8 for the night.  But on an evening when he played a primary role in holding one of the NBA's most dynamic offensive players not just to three points total but to zero made baskets from the field, a poor night shooting the ball hardly seems reason to nitpick.  On a night when just about everything seemed to go right for the Celts - Rajon Rondo was spectacular, Ray Allen shot the lights out, the Infuriated Infant busted his tail at both ends, Bill Walker got some more fun run in a blowout victory, the list goes on - Brian Scalabrine turned in his finest performance as a Celtic.  Atta way, Brian.

***

We've also got two pieces of unrelated but highly recommended reading for you today.  This compilation of actual quotes from NBA players courtesy of lowposts had me rolling (hat tip to CB member silvershamrocker).  Absolutely hilarious.  

On another note, no kidding's fanpost about KG, LeBron, Kobe and resin-tossing is a must-read.  You may not like what he has to say, but as cordobes notes, he does a solid job making his point and defending it.  Well thought-out and intriguing piece.

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