<
>

Turner joins C's elusive triple-double club

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics swingman Evan Turner wasn't certain just how close he was to his first career triple-double until Marcus Smart informed him in the fourth quarter.

"He said, 'One more assist,' so I was like, ‘All right, make a shot,’ and he said, ‘No, I will,’" Turner related. "Ironically, he made the shot. So that was cool."

Spinning through traffic in the lane, Turner fed Smart cutting baseline for a reverse layup with 7:45 remaining that sealed the triple-double. Turner finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists over 34:24. He was plus-20 in plus/minus and helped fuel Boston's second-half surge en route to a 115-94 triumph over the New York Knicks.

According to the Celtics, Turner is only the 10th player in team history to record a triple-double (a number that's confirmed by Basketball Reference's data, which only goes back to the 1985-86 season). Turner joins a group of luminaries that includes Jordan Crawford, Kevin Gamble, Ryan Gomes, Dennis Johnson and Robert Parish (all have one triple-double for Boston, according to Basketball Reference). The Celtics' kings of triple-doubles are Larry Bird (69), Rajon Rondo (32), Antoine Walker (13) and Paul Pierce (10).

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he wasn't aware of Turner's triple-double while he was on the court, but admitted he couldn't take him out of the game.

"I don’t keep track of that stuff, but I noticed I couldn’t take him out at the end of the third quarter," Stevens said. "Usually I take him out for a rest, but we had just hit that 3 to go up eight, we looked like we had a rhythm, and he was doing all of the little things in that group. Like he was keeping the ball alive with tips, he was aggressively switching, he was active defensively with his hands, and then he finished plays over and over on the defensive end.

"So it felt like with how small we were on the front line, he had to be in the game because he does a lot of things that don’t go noticed usually. He’s playing well, and he’s defending well, and you know the offense always comes and goes, but you can always do the right thing defensively and he’s doing that. And he’s been consistent doing that all year."

After a rough patch last season, including a lackluster stint with the Pacers after being traded from the 76ers, Turner has settled in nicely with the Celtics while showcasing his versatility. He's handled primary ball-handling duties and didn't miss a beat when shuffling back to his more natural swingman spot.

A reporter asked Turner Wednesday if Boston could be "the place for him."

"Aww, man, I think it’s pretty cool. I think I’d be dumb to sit here and say, ‘Nah, this ain’t the place for me,’" Turner said with a laugh. He kept things light. "You never really know. I could be like, ‘No, I hate this place.’ Go about my business and you guys have a field day with it. I’m going to stay out of the headlines.

"I like it. I think the biggest thing is the positivity, I think it’s a positive atmosphere. I think that it’s about basketball here. From the ballboys to the top guy, everybody is basketball crazy and the fans are great. I’m fortunate enough to be a part of it, something that’s bigger than the team."