Chris Babb got the biggest news of his professional career just before the Maine Red Claws tipped off against the Canton Charge on Thursday.
The Boston Celtics are signing the rookie guard to a 10-day contract Friday.
Babb sent a group-chat message to his parents and brother. He texted his girlfriend.
Then he gathered his emotions, played 40 minutes of intense basketball and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in a 110-105 victory before an announced crowd of 2,024 at the Portland Expo.
“These guys are what got me to where I’m going. So I definitely couldn’t let them down,” Babb said when asked how he was able to concentrate on the game at hand with his NBA dreams just a day away.
“That was a big shot. That’s something that the Celtics have talked about wanting to see me do is make plays, run to the corner in transition, knock down shots, play defense, hustle.”
Babb, undrafted out of Iowa State, did all of that for Boston in the preseason and was one of the last players cut. But he clearly made a lasting impression on Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president, who made the call to Red Claws Coach Mike Taylor summoning Babb.
Babb had 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals as Maine (15-20) knocked off first-place Canton (22-14). The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Friday, but Babb won’t be around for that one.
“He plays his role. He plays off of other players and knows all of their roles,” Taylor said. “I don’t consider Chris Babb a rookie because he has such an outstanding understanding of the game. I couldn’t be more thrilled for him.”
Babb, who repeatedly called his call-up a “blessing,” said he’s been watching Miami Heat forward Shane Battier in recent games and wants to be the same type of player.
“When you talk about a glue guy, he’s the epitome of it. He plays so hard. He’s always in the right place at the right time,” Babb said.
“Why not try to be like a guy that’s been in the league forever?”
THE D-LEAGUE is penalizing players who “flop” by assessing a technical foul and awarding a free throw to the opponent.
League President Dan Reed, in Portland for Thursday’s game, said the new rule was implemented after the All-Star break, and that 10 flopping fouls were called in the first 17 games.
The NBA has been giving out fines when it determines, by postgame video review, a player has embellished while trying to draw charging fouls.
“We wanted to experiment with a penalty that actually affected the game, and see what the effect would be,” Reed said.
Flopping does not count as a personal foul against the player.
The D-League has long been the testing ground for new rules and technology for the NBA.
One of those tests is seeing if games can be sped up by eliminating one timeout for each team and shortening the remaining ones.
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: