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The Perks of Scal

By Sarah Barton

The Celtics rang in the new year with a losing streak that had a few Bostonians eagerly anticipating Opening Day at Fenway, or perhaps even tuning in to watch the Bruins (Gasp!). After Boston dropped only five of its first 34 games, a four game losing skid was even more unimaginable than seeing a player sobbing at the end of the bench. Oh wait, that happened. But I digress...

Boston was slumping. Celtic fans and the sports world began to lose faith. And, to add injury to insult, starting center Kendrick Perkins suffered a strained left shoulder, sidelining him indefinitely. Only one man in Boston could stop the bleeding. One tall, white, lanky, redheaded man.

The Celtics have won five straight since Lebron and the Cavs torched Boston for its fourth straight loss nearly two weeks ago. Call it a coincidence, but Boston's favorite redhead has started in Perkins' place in each of those victories. That's right, Brian Scalabrine is helping to get the Celtics right back on track. With Perkins out, Scal has more than doubled his average minutes per game. Hey Doc: Play Scal, win games.

Ok, so maybe it's not that simple. The stats, however, don't lie. Since Perkins' injury, Boston defeated Toronto twice, routed New Jersey twice, and beat the daylight out of the Suns once. In those games, Scal nearly replicated Perkins' minutes and points (Scal: 28.4 and 8.4, Perk: 28.9 and 8.8). He has also nailed five 3's, just to show off his range. Scal's rebounding numbers leave a lot to be desired (2.8 vs. Perkins' 8.1), but considering Kendrick has one inch and 45 pounds on Scal, Perk will always win that battle.

Scal may not have Perkins' "I'm going to pound you into the parquet" demeanor, nor is his post presence quite as demanding as Perkins', but (please pardon my Manny-ish reference) that's what makes Scal Scal. This gangly redhead, who has been a perennial benchwarmer in each of his four seasons in Boston, will rake in $3.2 million this season (Rondo banks a mere $1.3 million). With Perkins out, Scal has shown that he can earn his keep on the floor and on the bench. Amidst Boston's green and white sea of big names and monster contracts, it's becoming clear why Ainge is paying so much to keep this guy around. Scal is Boston's biggest cheerleader on the sideline, heir to the starting center position for the defending NBA Champs, and a fan favorite. Now that's versatility.

In the long run, Scal will relinquish his starting role once Perkins is healthy. Scal is no Perk, but he sure does have his perks. He is ready, willing, and able to step up when his team needs him. His presence in each game is unmistakable, and not just because he stands out like a sore thumb. Perhaps $3.2 million is a hefty salary for a guy who is averaging 12 minutes per game, but recently Scal has proven himself as an invaluable part of the Celtics franchise. 

1 comment:

  1. couldn't disagree more -- scalabrine doesn't even consistently hit the three --- in the playoffs, he will not play a minute and should not play a minute ---- he is slow on rotations and unless he's hitting the open jumper, he is a liability on offense --- perk is one of the centerpieces of that defense and if the celts make a move before the trade deadline for a big guy, wouldn't be surprised of scal goes back to not even dressing.....