SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Before the 76ers' 96-85 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, center
had seen scant playing time.
He had appeared in just nine of the first 27 games, but played more than 21 minutes Wednesday and had six points, four rebounds, and five blocked shots while outscoring
by a point.
Booth had figured he'd play more when he signed a two-year deal for about $2.2 million that contains a player option for next season. Still, he wasn't pointing any fingers for his lack of minutes.
"I thought I'd play more, but on the coaches' side, I think they gave me a fair shot," Booth said during yesterday's shoot-around at Arco Arena. "But I didn't shoot the ball well in the preseason."
"I don't think my game is predicated on whether I make shots or not," he said. "But I didn't shoot the ball, and so I can understand strictly on an evaluation standpoint how they decided to move forward and go with
. And I have to fight my way out of it."
has appreciated Booth's professionalism in accepting his role.
"When you have a Calvin Booth, a
on the team, those guys are immeasurable," Cheeks said. "They do their work, and whenever they are called up, they come to play."
Booth got his chance against Miami because
picked up three fouls in less than three first-half minutes.
Nobody, including Booth, knows whether the minutes will be extended.
"If they decide to give me more of a backup-type role, I have to take advantage of it," Booth said. "If not, I have to be ready when I'm called."
No hack, no foul
was a contemporary of Cheeks and praised him for being an outstanding defensive player. Then a smiling Theus added: "I always thought he was a hack. I have the scratches to prove it."
When those comments were relayed to Cheeks, he doubled over laughing, then tried to issue a denial.
"I probably hacked some people, but I don't think overall I was a hack," he said, still grinning at the thought. "I got away with some hacks."
missed his third consecutive game with a groin strain.
started in his place again.
"It's night-and-day better," said Green, who first experienced the pain last Saturday but didn't know how he suffered the injury. "I'm getting on the floor more and doing more and more."
Green expects to play during this road trip, but wouldn't speculate on the date.
- Marc Narducci