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Brad Stevens On Chris Babb: “I Hope He’s Back With Us Monday”

Chris Babb’s 10-day contract, signed on Feb. 28, runs out Sunday. If the Celtics don’t pick him up for another 10-day deal, he’ll be looking at a return to the D-League lifestyle — long bus trips, mediocre food and mostly empty arenas.

Fortunately for the rookie guard, he’s making a good impression, and he’s got a pretty strong supporter in his run for a second term.

“I hope like heck he’s back with us Monday,” Brad Stevens said after Boston’s 91-84 win over Brooklyn, in which Babb knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and defended like he doesn’t really feel like heading back north to Maine. “He’s a perfect fit for what we need. He’s not going to play 38 minutes a game, he’s going to come in, get open shots, hopefully knock those open shots down, play off other people, and be a feisty defender for us. He really is an outstanding defender for a young guy.”

His defense was on display Friday. Babb moves his feet well and uses solid length to bother players on the perimeter, drawing tough assignments like Paul Pierce (he’s still got it), Andrei Kirilenko (also still has it) and Mirza Teletovic (who is at least four inches taller than Babb).

One play stood out in particular. Babb banged home his second 3-pointer of the game with 7:50 left in the second quarter, then headed back up the court pointing out defensive assignments (correctly, for what it’s worth — an important distinction). He hasn’t shown any signs of being the preening type, someone who would admire his shot after it went in at the expense of his defense, but a young player just up from the D-League might be excused for getting excited and forgetting his assignment.

According to Babb, however, defense a pretty simple part of the game.

“To be honest, defense is defense,” he said after the win. “I try to really pay attention to the scouting report, watch as much film as I can, be ahead of the game. I might play two minutes, I might play 25 minutes. You never know when your shot’s going to come. When your number’s called, you have to be ready to go. Coach talked about being vocal, being a more vocal team, being more energetic. That’s something I really feel like I could excel and do well. ”

Babb has one more game guaranteed — Sunday’s match-up with Detroit. Since it’s his last chance to earn a second 10-day, don’t be surprised if Babb sees a lot of playing time. He can be encouraged, however, to hear that Stevens wants him back.

“One of the biggest things is making a good impression on the head coach,” Babb said. “That’s awesome. That’s good to hear.”

Making a good impression on your head coach is a good thing? You can’t say he’s wrong.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

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