Semi Ojeleye goes iron man
With no Marcus Smart, the Boston Celtics needed a player to step up and do the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
On Wednesday night, Semi Ojeleye was that man. With just five points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes played, Ojeleye did fill up the stats sheet, but it’s the fact that he gave the team 24 minutes of effort off the bench that is earning praise.
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In at one point playing 16 consecutive minutes, the work ethic, communication on defense and versatility with his 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame was on display.
During the team’s 32-16 run during the second quarter to help the Celtics extinguish a 8 point Heat lead into a 8-point advantage, Ojeleye was out there leading the charge on the defensive end just like Marcus Smart does when he is on the court.
That recognition was not only applauded by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, but also Kemba Walker who finished the game with 28 points.
"“He was really loud, talking behind the defense, making sure everyone was in the right spots,” Walker said following the game, via Celtics.com. “That’s who Semi is for us. He’s a great player and we need him to be great defensively, make open shots like he’s doing, making the hustle plays. He’s always the first one to the floor, and that’s what we need from him.”"
After Boston Celtics first-round pick Grant Williams started the game, it was great to see Ojeleye come in and pick up the slack by inserting some intensity to the lineup and ignited a stretch of defense that ultimately led to a blowout win.