Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Paul Pierce took 11 shots tonight. He scored 28 points while doing it. Had he taken a 12th shot, he might have won the game for the Celtics. Yet he gave Ray Allen his 12th shot – even though Allen had hit only one of his first 11 – and that did the deed in the 99-95 victory.
As Pierce dribbled down the shot clock in the final 15 seconds of the game, it was hard to picture him passing the ball. Even after all these years of his efficiency going up, and his selfishness as a player virtually disappearing, the shot of Pierce firing away from 18 feet with a hand in his face was the next logical image. With the night he was having, it may have even been the best choice.
“I mean, it’s just trust,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s just trust, it really is. We talk about it all the time and it works sometimes. But that was a great example that Paul was covered, he saw an open guy, and he gave it to the open guy.”
“I’m just getting better the older I get,” Pierce said. “I’m like a fine wine – you age it and it gets better.
You think LeBron James makes that pass? How about D-Wade? I know for sure Kobe Bryant doesn't make that pass (LA lost its 4th straight last night!). But what Paul Pierce did last night with the game hanging in the balance is the singular "it" that makes the Celtics so good.
Teamwork. Trust. Yes, I understand the decision to pass is easier when a particular teammate is a future HOFer. But with Ray laying bricks last night, no one would have faulted Pierce for taking that final shot with 2-3 guys draped on him. If Ray had missed that shot, I probably would have criticized Pierce.
On Page 2, add Nate to the list of the walking wounded.
Nate Robinson played just three minutes due to soreness in his left foot.
"It's been bothering me since the Atlanta game [on Nov. 22]," Robinson said. "I've been trying to pull through it. I'm in a little bit of pain, but I'll be all right."
Still, that pain was severe enough on Wednesday to where Robinson couldn't come in to spell Rajon Rondo, who is battling his share of injuries as well.
Coach Doc Rivers had little choice but to play Rondo extended minutes against the Blazers.
"I left Rondo in because Nate's foot was hurting," said Rivers, who added that Rondo's hamstring started to get sore. "He [Rondo] was worried that if he came out, he couldn't return. So the injury thing is really starting to creep up on us. It is what it is."
If Nate's foot doesn't get better, Doc must play Avery Bradley. Rondo logged 45 freakin' minutes. Not ideal for a guy dealing with a sore hamstring and plantar fasciitis.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics find range vs Blazers | Allen's timing perfect | Cutting it very close | Herald – Cs have finishing touch | Doc saluted for body of work | ESPN Boston – Postgame notes | Doc has done plenty with little | CSNNE – Allen unafraid to take final shot | Davis: No need to hold back |