Thursday night might be a moment for Keyon Dooling to shine
Two years ago, the Celtics were missing something on their basketball team. The Celtics were slogging their was through the regular season, their off-season signing of Rasheed Wallace was doing next to nothing to provide help off the bench, and the Celtics were lacking a dangerous scoring optino from that very same bench. In order to make a run, they felt they needed to get something done either through free-agency or at the trade deadline. Pressed with little options, Danny Ainge flipped a deal at the trade deadline sending fan favorite Eddie House and Bill Walker to the New York Knicks for guard Nate Robinson.
For the time that it lasted, the Nate Robinson era was fun. The Celtics had a bench scorer who could go off at any time and he was a wonderful personality on Twitter and in the community. Everything crested in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic. Told by coach Doc Rivers at the beginning of the post-season that Nate would “win a game” for them, Nate Robinson finally had his moment in Game 6 against the Orlando Magic. With the entire region fearing another three games to none lead evaporating in no time at all, Nate entered the game and played spectacularly. He had 13 points in the quarter, played pressure defense all over the court and provided energy and intensity that helped spear head the Boston Celtics back to the NBA Finals.
I bring this up because the Boston Celtics are in a similar situation and possess a player with a similar role and demeanor to that Nate Robinson. Just like Nate, back0up point guard Keyon Dooling for the current Celtics possess an insane amount of intensity and confidence in his game. At any time, Keyon can enter the game and simply start firing open shots with no rhyme or reason. Why does he do this? Because Dooling is always confident that the shot will fall. He doesn’t hesitate at any moment on the floor. With his strange overhead flick from behind his ear, Dooling stands in the corner or in the wing and starts firing away. As more shots fall, the more confidence and energy he brings and the more the crowd gets behind him.
These players always seem to come up big when it is needed and tonight is one of those “big” moments. Everyone says that the pressure is on the Miami Heat because they are the ones with the “Welcome Party” and the high expectations and the Boston Celtics are the ones who should be “happy to be here”, but the Celtics aren’t just any ordinary “happy to be here” team. They are the most storied franchise in the NBA, with a home crowd that expects them to close out the Miami Heat at home tonight. The Heat, on the other hand, can play with nothing to lose because if they win, they get to go to an anything goes Game 7 on their home court.
It’s in these moments, where the irrational confidence player stands out from the crowd, when a random bench player known simply for his extreme energy and a celebratory “flexing” move while on the bench can make a huge difference in the game.
With all eyes on the Celtics fantastic four and the Heat’s big three, it might be time for Keyon Dooling to have a moment in the spotlight.