Wednesday, for the 1,275th straight contest (or somewhere thereabouts), Greg Stiemsma accumulated at least five fouls. On this day he used just five, falling shy of automatic ejection but using nearly all of his six. Foul trouble has become an issue for Stiemsma, who sometimes seems to get the raw end of whistles, but other times hacks more frequently than he should.
“The Stiemer. The guy’s a foul magnet,” Doc Rivers joked. “But he’s been so good. I love him. I love that kid. He’s just a great spirit. You know, you feel bad for him sometimes. He picks up fouls just because he’s in the vicinity, and they just give it to that guy.”
One train of thought believes Stiemsma will one day earn the respect of referees, and that at that point he will stop encouraging more whistles than a 10-year old sprinting around his local swimming pool. But Rivers does not believe Stiemsma will ever erase his tendency to foul.
“No, he is who he is,” Rivers said. “The great thing about Greg is he’s 20-whatever — he comes in the league, he already knows who he is. He’s not trying to be anything else but what he is. And so he fits us perfectly.”
The Celtics’ coach continued with a light heart, “No, he’s not going to change. I mean, he fouled two shooters today with one second on the clock. He looked right over at the bench [and said], ‘I’m sorry.’ I mean, he knows it. Listen, that’s not going to change.”
Stiemsma drew an offensive foul call on Glen Davis in the fourth quarter, during a play in which Stiemer (at least from my seat in the rafters) looked like he might have been standing inside the no-charge zone. He chuckled a bit when asked about the play after the game.
“It felt good to get one tonight,” he said. “It’s been a stretch where I haven’t seen many calls go my way, so it was nice to be in the right spot and to get the right call.”