Many of the Celtics came to play last night in Seattle. Unfortunately, throughout much of the second quarter, the two who came on the strongest didn't show up wearing the green and black alternate road jerseys. Fortunately, they were overtaken by night's end by a few folks who did, but Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West managed to salvage good individual showings regardless of the outcome for their current team.
Wally World, of course, did what Wally does and always has done: He shot. He took up the Celtics on the open looks they offered him when the defense didn't rotate as well as it should have early in the game, and he took contested shots later because he is Wally, and he likes to shoot. Early on, he hit his share and went for a bundle in the second quarter, en route to finishing at 5-for-11 with 14 points for the game. A nice showing for the Sonics' most trigger-happy reserve.
The real story of the former C's, however, was none other than one of Danny Ainge's two point-guards-of-the-future prior to the apparently permanent installment of Rajon Rondo: Delonte West. Sure, this is a guy who was always a fan favorite, always a good guy and generally a very capable outside shooter. But while in Boston, he was rarely if ever what he was for the Sonics in just 25 minutes last night. D-West played in 69 games for the train wreck that was the 2006-07 Boston Celtics. In those 69 contests, West scored 19 or more points ten times. Know how many times he did it on less than ten field-goal attempts? Zero. Delonte looked remarkably efficient last night, going 6-for-8 from the field and getting to the foul line with relative ease, where he went 6-for-8 as well. Always known as a shooter first, West took just one three, a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter, which he drained after spinning away from Rondo. His slashing game looked more improved than ever, as he got to both the rim and the charity stripe with minimal difficulty, and he made the offensive play of the night for the Sonics: a crossover to get into the paint followed by a sweet side-armed, hooking lefty scoop off the glass and over the outstretched arms of multiple Celtics defenders. A very nice play that was emblematic of a very nice game for the former Celtics guard. West went for 8 assists and 4 boards as well and generally looked like a solid combination of scorer and creative playmaker.
Maybe he got up to play against his former team. Or maybe last night was a sign of the beginnings of the turning of a corner for one often overlooked player in Seattle. Either way, label me impressed by the play of Delonte West last night, and label me happy to see an old personal and fan base favorite playing well. Especially because he wound up with an 'L' despite that solid play.
As for Charles Barkley's halftime remark to the effect of "Think about the problems they had with Detroit last week. If Rajon Rondo can't guard Delonte West, [the Celtics] won't be able to play with teams like Detroit in the playoffs," well, that's another story for another time. But it is a concern nonetheless.
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