Stiemsma gets confidence boost

Boston center Greg Stiemsma, a hard-working 26-year-old rookie, seems to have found a home with the Celtics:

In a way, it was Stuart Smalley sans the yellow button-down shirt and powder blue cardigan. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers watched rookie center Greg Stiemsma pass up a couple of open looks in practice during training camp and decided he needed a little self-affirmation.

David Butler II/US Presswire

Not even JaVale McGee's backside could slow Celtics rookie center Greg Stiemsma.So Rivers blew his whistle and told the 6-foot-11 Stiemsma to go stand in front of his teammates and repeat the phrase, "My name is Greg Stiemsma and I'm a shooter."

"We kept making him repeat it," Rivers recalled. "Everybody was laughing. He said, 'I can shoot. I'm a shooter.' And he is."

Stiemsma arrived in Boston last month with the reputation as a defensive-minded big man capable of one thing: blocking shots. That made him the D-League Defensive Player of the Year, but it hadn't landed him an NBA job.

Size-craving Boston gave him that opportunity and, with Jermaine O'Neal sidelined by a sore left hamstring on Monday night, Stiemsma was thrust into the starting lineup against the Washington Wizards.

The 26-year-old Stiemsma, whose lore had already grown after he blocked six shots in his NBA debut last week in New Orleans, responded by registering 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists over 21 minutes in Boston's 100-92 triumph at TD Garden.

Stiemsma smiled sheepishly when told Rivers relayed the story of him having to stand up in front of the team and pump his own tires. But he admitted it did the trick.

"I think I passed up a couple looks in practice, one of the first few workouts and he kind of asked me, 'What are you?'" Stiemsa said. "And I said, 'I don't know, shooter?' He kind of made me say it a few more times and it started to sink in a little bit more."

Hop HERE to read the full story.