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Cs to be challenged by one of their own

Before Rajon Rondo [1] was taking hard spills on the court, it was Delonte West [2] who was sacrificing his body for the Boston Celtics [3]. Two years after leaving the Cs as part of the Ray Allen [4] deal, West has brought his hustle to the Cleveland where it has sparked LeBron James [5] and the streaking Cavaliers [6]. Those who played with West early in his career are not surprised by his success.

‘€œThere’s no doubt that I thought before Delonte even went there, I thought Delonte was a perfect fit for LeBron James,’€ said Brian Scalabrine [7], a teammate of two seasons. ‘€œWhen he got traded to Seattle and he wasn’t playing for whatever, it’s just all about the place you go and where you fit in.’€

West has fit in perfectly since being dealt from the Seattle SuperSonics [8] last season. The addition of West, along with Mo Williams [9], is an upgrade to the Cavaliers backcourt that once relied heavily on James’ long-range game. Rather than compensating for the inconsistencies of Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic [10], James can play closer to the basket without worrying about their guards.

West’s gritty defense is also a factor in the Cavs’ NBA-low 89.1 points allowed per game (down from 96.7 last season). His intensity will be challenging for the Celtics to contain when they take on the Cavaliers on Friday night.

‘€œD-West has helped them a lot,’€ said Kendrick Perkins [11], who played three seasons with West. ‘€œHe puts another shooter out there on the court for LeBron to pass it to when he drives and penetrates. D-West can make plays. He’s a defender, he’s very feisty, and D-West helps their team a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we go out there and try to keep him under control, keep him off the offensive rebounding, try to get in his aspects a little bit, and just go from there.’€

After losing for three years in Boston and inexplicably riding the bench in Seattle, West inked a multi-year deal last summer to stay in Cleveland. Even though his tough play could burn the Celtics this season, his former teammates know he’s in the right place.

Said Scalabrine, ‘€œI told him when he came here (with the Cavs), ‘Listen, you’re in a place where you can be, as long as LeBron is there, you can be there for the rest of your career and you can thrive in that situation.”€