Brian Scalabrine: Most Valuable Ginger

I'm an avid Brian Scalabrine fan, one of the few Celtics fans to sport a #44 jersey (T-shirts are for wimps). Tonight will prove whether the investment was worth it.

Scalabrine is back in uniform, and it’s up to him to prove he’s good for more than keeping Kevin Garnett’s seat warm. (Check it out tonight: Garnett comes out, Scal “stretches” or “cheers,” then walks to the other end of the bench.) Sure, Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, and Allen are still tonight’s big dogs, but the fate of the final matchup in L.A. may lie in Scal’s freckled hands. Here are six reasons why I believe in him -- and you should, too.

He’s willing to take one for the team: In January 2009, Scalabrine was benched after having two concussions in three days ... and that’s not even the half of it. Scal has had so many concussions he was later diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. The man falls to the ground, usually hard and on his head, and gets right back out there on the court. That’s dedication.

He’s good for team morale: Even when on the bench, Scal is the first one up to cheer on his teammates. There’s rarely a scowl on his face (unlike Kendrick Perkins, whose face seems to be frozen that way) and he’s always got a high-five ready. Having him back in Celtics green is exactly what the team needs to counteract the debilitating loss of Perk.

He’s open: Forget about defense for a moment, and consider what Scal can do on the other side of the court. You can bet that he’ll be left open, and who knows, when no one’s looking he might land all those three-pointers that Ray Allen’s been missing.

He’s big: While Scalabrine may not be taller than Shelden Williams, the guy is bigger than him. ‘Nuff said.

He “could get under Odom’s skin”: According to Doc Rivers, Scalabrine may be the demise of Laker forward Lamar Odom. Unlike ‘Sheed and Garnett, Scalabrine has plenty of technical fouls to spare.

He’s Scal: Boston fans love him. Seeing his red hair in the game is sure to cheer up any fans devastated by Tuesday night’s loss.

So all of you Celtics fans out there, put on your Big 3 (plus Rondo) jerseys. I will be watching at home with my dad, a pile of junk food, and more obsessive rituals than I can list. For tonight, and tonight only, it may be my guy who comes through in the end -- and I just hope you join me in chanting SCAL-A-BRI-NE.

--Maggie Hollander

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