Jabari Parker has only been with the Boston Celtics for 24 hours, but that didn’t stop head coach Brad Stevens from having the newly-signed forward play high-pressure minutes.
Parker checked back in Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors with 1:52 left in regulation and the Celtics trailing by one point. Over the next two minutes with Parker on the floor, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart all stepped up with clutch plays in leading Boston to a 119-114 victory.
“Well, we went through the stretch at the start of the fourth quarter. We needed to score. He gave us some opportunities there,” Stevens said on a postgame video conference when asked about Parker’s time down the stretch. “Both in the first half and in the second when he played on the baseline, he played to his strengths, (he) did a lot of good things.
“He (will pick) up our defense as time goes on. We got to figure out how to best play with him on both ends, but pretty good for his first night.”
Parker scored 11 points in 16 minutes during his Celtics debut.
Those 11 points already mark more points than Parker scored with the Sacramento Kings before he was released after the NBA trade deadline. Parker provided Boston offense off the bench, which is exactly why the C’s brought him in.
“We just told him to go out there and play as hard as he can everything else will fall in,” Marcus Smart said of Parker during a postgame conference call “? He did very well. We were definitely ecstatic with the way that he came out, not really knowing the system and just playing basketball, being a basketball player. So, once he gets more involved into the plays and learning everything else will kind of mesh in well. But for his first time out there, he played very well, and we?re proud of him.”
Parker signed a two-year deal with the Celtics on Friday night. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft but has since played with six teams in six seasons.