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Since President Brad Stevens put Jonas Jerebko in the starting lineup, the Celtics are 2-0 and have evened their series with the Hawks at 2 games a piece. Jerebko had not started an NBA game in 3 years, yet in Game 3 he played a team high 36 minutes (the first time he's played 30 minutes since 2012), and put up 11 points and 12 rebounds (another team high) as our small ball big man. His 4 assists were a career high, and he had not grabbed 12 boards since 2010. Basically, Jerebko was dusted off and played one of his best games as a pro in his biggest game yet as a Celtic.

His production aside, he drew some of Atlanta's "paint packing" big men outside, allowing space to open up for Isaiah Thomas to bust out and drop 42 points. Isaiah referenced that in his post game, and referred to Jerebko's presence as a "difference maker". Spacing aside, he also did this to start the game.

Pretty good shot in the arm for a crowd that was already frothing.

In Game 4 his presence was still felt, as again he played 30 minutes, this time putting up 16 points and 10 rebounds. His highlight this game was his performance at the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th quarter. With the series and game in the balance and the Celtics trailing by 11, Jerebko went off.



That run by the Celtics was incredibly timed and incredibly needed, and it was ignited by Jonas. He has played 2 huge games for the Celtics with their season hanging by a thread, and has also put himself in some elite company with his back to back double-doubles.

Credit to Jerebko for being ready to take on a challenge like this, both minutes wise and responsibility wise. Also, credit to Brad Stevens for pushing the right button, and pushing it early enough. Adjusting a starting lineup is a tough call for a coach to make, especially in the playoffs, and at any point a dice roll like that can come up snake eyes. This time it didn't, in no small part due to Jonas.



Photo Credit: Mark L. Baer/USA Today



Follow Chris on Twitter @Thomp_26

Chris Thompson 4/25/2016 04:10:00 PM Edit
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