Luigi Datome (also known as Gigi) had only played 35 minutes this entire season prior to last night. Most of that was during garbage time. So it was a bit of a surprise to see him get over 9 minutes of time in the 2nd half against the Magic. He made the most of his opportunity too.
But in the second half of last night’s 103-98 loss to the Magic, coach Brad Stevens reached for Datome instead of James Young, and the 6-foot-8 forward responded with 10 points in 9:33, making four-of-five shots, including both his treys. Datome even had a bucket waved off on review when it was ruled to have come after the shot clock expired. "I felt like Gigi would be able to step right in and be able to score, and he was able to score tonight," Stevens said. "He did a good job. And we needed scoring."
Kevin O'Connor called to see less of James Young for the playoff push (though he wanted the minutes distributed differently, not just given over to Datome). Regardless, it was nice to see some production from the "other guy" included in the Tayshaun Prince deal. Ainge has kept an eye on him for a long time and likes his game in general.
Gigi even performed well enough on defense.
Though he had one blatant moment of defensive ineptitude (allowing a Mo Harkless dunk) and is obviously not the swiftest forward, he notched two blocks and cut off angles on a couple of other occasions.
Still, there's no telling what Datome's future looks like in the near or long term. But he sounds like he's got the right attitude about it.
"That’s my job," Datome said. "I’m waiting the whole season basically (to play). I’ve been waiting for my opportunity. When coach (Stevens) calls I just have to be ready and focus on giving energy to the team and understand what you can do for the team; don’t rush and just be solid and try to be the best that I can."