‘You know, I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again,’ Rivers said. ‘You know, he’s one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play. He was dying out there. When he got the cramps and the strains, he was just trying to figure out a way of staying on the floor.’
Wallace, 35, started in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins . He posted 11 points and 8 rebounds in 36 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Wallace propelled the Celtics early in the game by providing a much-needed post presence and was effective at scoring down low. (In typical Wallace fashion, he also mixed in a critical 3-pointer.)
But eventually Wallace, who suffered back spasms during the postseason, became hampered by injuries. He could no longer serve as an option at the basket for the Celtics, a huge loss when they were already playing without Perkins.
‘We had to keep subbing him for one minute and two minutes, and I thought the reason we got up early was because of Rasheed Wallace,’ said Rivers. ‘We got it low in the post, he started scoring, and I thought what happened was late in the game he got tired and had the injuries and we couldn’t go down anymore. And I think that had a huge impact on how we were playing. We had to go away from the post almost because of fatigue. You know, it’s the first time all year that you can actually say at the end of the day we were old at the end of the game because we didn’t have a enough bodies. I thought it hurt us.’
Wallace is under contract next season and has a player option for 2011.
If Game 7 turns out to be Wallace’s last game, he lived up to the expectations set by his previous postseason success. After an inconsistent first regular season in Boston (9.0 points, 40.9% FG, 28.3% 3PG), Wallace made it clear why he had signed with the Celtics.
‘I didn’t come here for the regular season,’ he said during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
On Thursday, he proved he was there to win a championship. Even though the C’s fell short, Wallace left no question that he had come to the Celtics to help them achieve postseason success.
Said Rivers, “He was a warrior.”