Under the radar: the case for Wilcox

Was Noah's Mom really a model? How did this happen?
He may not be the biggest name on the Celtics roster, but very quietly Chris Wilcox is carving out a niche on this team. After collecting a DNP-CD in the opener vs. Miami, the 11 year veteran has appeared in each of the C's last eight games, and has played double digit minutes in the last five. And he should be playing more.

Last night, Wilcox played just over 12 minutes, and his numbers were staggering. Ok so maybe seeing 6 points, 3 rebounds and a block on the stat sheet isn't staggering, but his impact on the game, well that's a different story. Let's break it down now y'all.

Wilcox on the floor: 12:05 of game time - Celtics outscore Nets 31-15, Out-rebound Nets 16-11, and both teams grab 6 offensive boards.

Wilcox on the bench: 35:55 of game time - Nets outscore Celtics 87-66, Out-rebound C's 36-28, and out-offensive rebound the green 12-6.

When Wilcox entered the game with just under 8 minutes to play in the 3rd, Brooklyn was up 69-57 and threatening to run away with the game. The Nets were annihilating the C's on the boards and the Celtics were lethargic. However Wilcox was able to turn the momentum by dominating his 1-on-1 battle with Reggie Evans down low. He crashed the offensive glass, boxed Evans out with fervor (a rare site last night), and forced the Nets into two turnovers. By the time the 3rd quarter ended, the Celts were up by 5. Unfortunately the buzzer at the end of the 3rd was also the end of the night for #44.

Doc decided to go with an ice cold Brandon Bass down the stretch, and Bass (usually money from 16-18 feet) - couldn't knock down the jumpers. It's always easy to use hindsight and say what should have been done, but with the depth the C's have, they have the ability to ride the hot hand down the stretch. I would have loved to see Doc stick with Wilcox there, just to see if the momentum from the 22-5 run the green closed the 3rd with could have continued.

However while end of game rotations can always be argued from different angles, it is clear that the C's decision to bring Wilcox back this season was a savvy one. There were very few bigs with the combination of speed and strength that the former Maryland Terrapin has that were available for short money this off-season, but thankfully Wilcox and the Celtics were able to work something out.

One last note - Wilcox is the active leader in the NBA with 575 career games played without a playoff appearance. Something tells me that if Wilcox turns in more efforts like last night, that title will soon belong to someone else.

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