Hidden deep within the dirty water of Boston Harbor is a ferocious beast that was unknown to many of the citizens of Celtics Nation before last night. On Friday, the cold and drizzling rain brought GodZeller out from the sea, sending shockwaves throughout the entire city.
With visitors from Los Angeles in town, Tyler Zeller couldn't have picked a better night to emerge from the dark, to help defeat the arch nemesis Lakers. With more purple and gold represented in TD Garden than usual, Zeller's career-high 24 points and 14 rebounds sent them home feeling blue.
"His hard rolls help us," coach Brad Stevens said of Zeller's ability to breath fire on his opponents and score near the rim. "It's a positive and we need him to continue to do that."
In a season-high 31 minutes, Zeller shot 10-for-11 from the floor, raising his field goal percentage to 69 percent. Despite flying under the radar, Zeller did what he has done throughout the entire year, by displaying immaculate timing and anticipation.
But the legend of GodZeller can't be told without mentioning his soft mitts, which he uses to snatch the nifty and often difficult passes from a fellow sea monster, Rajon Rondo.
"He has great hands. He outruns his big every night on the floor and I try to reward him every time I get a chance," said Rondo. "His hand-eye coordination is great, so I try to find him and get him the ball."
Zeller is also quite fond of his partner in crime, who assisted on seven of his 10 baskets on Friday.
More on GodZeller
More on GodZeller
"The more I play with him, the easier it gets. Everybody knows he's a phenomenal passer and he's gonna find the open guy," GodZeller roared. "Tonight it was me, then other nights it's been other guys. We just continue to work together."
The 7-foot behemoth is now shooting 75 percent on the year on passes received from Rondo, which is quite a remarkable feat. Zeller could, in fact, be the easiest assist Rondo has ever had, at least so far this season.
"It's the way he rolls. He gets into the right seams where I can find him and make it easy for him," Rondo explained. "He always has his hands ready and he's a great finisher."
What's scary is that Zeller is still just in his third year in the NBA, and while he may lack truly elite upside, his high-energy, efficient, and contagious style of play will only become more common in the near future.
"He's still a puppy," Stevens joked. "He's a young guy, only in his third year. He's still learning and growing, but he's getting better. He's getting some confidence too."
Despite having enough strength to destroy an entire city with the slam of his fist, Zeller spared us mortals and laughed when he was told that his coach referred to him as a puppy: "I got a lot of growing up to do and I know that, but it's also one of those things that I hope to continue to use this as a stepping stone and continue to build on this."
With that type of mindset, it's really no surprise that Zeller has continued to see his playing time rise throughout the season. Players who consistently hustle and produce on both ends of the floor will no doubt win the trust of coaches, which is why he found himself starting his fourth-straight game.
GodZeller has swum back into Boston Harbor for a much-deserved rest, but he will soon rise again.