Pro basketball

Unhappy E'Twaun Moore playing good soldier in Boston

2012-04-08T22:00:00Z 2012-04-24T23:20:21Z Unhappy E'Twaun Moore playing good soldier in BostonBy Al Hamnik, (219) 933-4154
April 08, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

Boston Celtics' rookie E'Twaun Moore is trying to be the good soldier, so mum's the word game after game after game.

But hidden on the bench and feeling like part of the Witness Protection Program is becoming more difficult for the East Chicago native to accept.

Moore had appeared in only 30 of the Celtics' 55 games heading into Sunday's date with Philadelphia.

And he's healthy as an ox.

"When you're used to playing a lot your whole career, it's tough to watch," Moore said. "You're like: 'Oh, man. I can do this or help to do that.'"

Coach Doc Rivers claims kids like Moore and teammate JaJuan Johnson are penalized by the NBA's lockout-shortened, 66-game regular season.

"They're working every day but I think it's a tough year for those guys or any other young guys," Rivers said before Thursday's Bulls game. "You have no practice. They really don't have an opportunity to improve or for us, for me, to visually see them a lot."

Moore smiled when told that.

"Yeah, that's why you gotta play," he said.

Moore is averaging 2.6 points a game; Johnson 3.4.

"I think this year has really hurt the young players who aren't playing a lot because they haven't had the practice time," Rivers said. "And most of 'em haven't been sent down because there's been so many injuries.

"But they're both great kids. They work their tails off. And when you're young on our team — and the veterans like you — that means you have a pretty good work ethic because you have to impress those dinosaurs in there."

Moore's parents Ezell and Edna, brother Ezell Jr. and sister Ekeisha also can't understand his inactivity. They miss seeing him on TV like they did during his all-American days at Purdue.

"They say, 'You should be playing,'" Moore said. "Yeah, of course (they're disappointed)."

The 6-foot-4 reserve finds himself fighting a numbers game as one of seven guards on the Celtics' roster.

Second-year player Avery Bradley has been so impressive as a weakside cutter and perimeter defender, Rivers is starting him opposite Rajon Rondo and bringing 16-year veteran Ray Allen off the bench.

Moore filled in nicely for the injured Allen earlier this season, scoring a career-high 16 points in a Jan. 26 comeback win against Orlando. But he still can't push past Sasha Pavlovic and Keyon Dooling in the rotation.

"We have a lot of veterans guys who knew the system coming in," Moore said.

Often-used Mickael Pietrus being out with a Stage 3 concussion hasn't helped Moore's cause, either.

"I've got to keep working even harder because I'm not playing," he said. "It just makes you hungrier and more eager to play."

No. 55 looks so forgotten at the end of Boston's bench, like someone waiting for a taxi that never came.

"Of course I want to play. Of course I'm not happy about not playing. Of course I'm a little angry," Moore said. "But I'm still confident in my game, confident I can come in and hit the big shot when needed.

"You've just got to stay with it."

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