Celtics' Tacko Fall Discusses Receiving Standing Ovation in Home Debut

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall stands on the court before an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)
Sam Hodde/Associated Press

The biggest story for the Boston Celtics coming out of Friday's 114-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons was Tacko Fall's first appearance in a regular-season game at TD Garden. 

Late in the fourth quarter with the Celtics firmly in control, the home crowd urged head coach Brad Stevens to put the rookie center in with a "We want Tacko!" chant. He obliged and was rewarded with Fall scoring four points, including a dunk in the final minute. 

Per The Athletic's Jared Weiss, Fall said afterward he had been anticipating getting into the game and had encouragement from Jayson Tatum. 

"I knew it was coming, it was a matter of when," Fall said. "(Tatum) tried to force me to go in first, and then coach was amping up the crowd even more, and then he turned around and was like, 'Tacko, go in.'"

Even if Stevens had planned to get Fall game action at some point, his hand may have been forced by a member of his family. The Celtics coach told reporters after the win his daughter told him to "give the people what they want."

Those four minutes, 31 seconds that Fall was in the game put him in the spotlight, but he was quick to point out the support he's received from teammates says a lot about where the Celtics are at right now. 

"Says a lot about the team we have this year, everyone pulling for each other," he said. "Everybody is happy for everybody's success, and that means a lot for me that people want to see me do good, from the people who work in the facility to the front office, players, everybody."

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Friday night was a singular moment for Fall, but the Central Florida alum admitted "there's things I can do better" to ensure he gets to a point when Stevens gives him regular playing time. 

"I have so much potential, I just don't want to be average," said Fall. "So just gotta keep working."

The Celtics are in a great spot to help Fall reach that potential. They certainly need more depth at center with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams splitting minutes at the position. 

Few franchises in the NBA have been better at developing young talent in recent years than the Celtics. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are some of their biggest success stories. 

Fall has a long way to go before he can become a regular part of the rotation, but Friday was at least a step in the right direction.