Rasheed was the first on the scene. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Amidst all of the fluctuating opinions surrounding Rasheed Wallace, the one that I heard most often, which has remained constant since the start of the pre-season, was that he was a great teammate. It's rare, however, over the course of a game, to see surefire examples of teammates legitimately being there for one another, and relying on each other. You always see the high-fives, and the chest bumps, and the quirky pre-game rituals, which do symbolize cohesiveness to an extent.
However, in back-to-back games of the Eastern Conference Finals, both Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo suffered respective injuries, and Rasheed was the first on the scene. Take a look back at Davis's concussion in Game 5:
As soon as Davis starts to stumble towards Joey Crawford, Rasheed hustles over - the first Celtic on the scene -grabs him around the waist, pronounces: "I got you", before repeating, "I got him" to Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson. He then cautiously helps to lower Glen to the floor so that head trainer Eddie Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon can go to work.
Then, in Game 6, Rondo crashed to the floor late in the first quarter after trying to slice between Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard in mid-air. He landed really hard on his left side, and, after reviewing the replay, he's probably lucky he didn't injure his left arm, which he appeared to try and use to cushion his fall. Take a look:
Yeah, a tough fall for sure. And notice, once again, who got there first, to help control the situation: Rasheed Wallace. As soon as Rondo hits the deck, 'Sheed jolts to the baseline from the left corner, and as Rondo lays weakly on his back, 'Sheed puts two hands on his chest, and advises: "Take your time. Take your time. Take your time." He repeats it again as Rondo rolls gingerly onto his side, possibly in an attempt to get to his feet. 'Sheed stays by him until Doc Rivers calls a 20-second timeout, so Lacerte can get over to him.
These were just two respective scenarios that took place over the course of what ended up being a fairly grueling six-game series, but I couldn't help being impressed with how 'Sheed reacted in both instances. Maybe it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, but you can still be in the right place at the right time and not react accordingly. Rasheed did, and it stuck with me.