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.
The Celtics [team stats] were concerned about KG’s conditioning, but in his 31st and final minute on the floor, he roamed far out on the wing and made the steal that essentially ended the game. (Garnett threw the ball ahead to Ray Allen, who was fouled and hit both free throws for a five-point lead with 11.5 on the clock.)
A few minutes later, sweat was dripping down Garnett’s head. Sweat and triumph — his favorite mixed drink.
“It felt good, man,” he said.
It may have felt a bit surprising to some that Garnett could produce so well against a high-quality opponent in his first game back. But he is not among the some.
“Well, you get out of it what you put into it,” Garnett said. “These two weeks have been dark days for me. I’ve been trying to keep my morale up around the guys.
“But being hurt is not one of the things I like to be a part of. I hate it. I’ll be totally honest, I don’t deal with it well. But as I get older, along with these knuckleheads here keeping it real light for me and keeping my spirits up, I just work through it — two-a-days, continuing to work, doing what I’ve got to do to get back.
“And, again, tonight I just felt strong. I’m going to continue to build on this. Hopefully I don’t have any mishaps.”
If you had spent the last three weeks in a coma and awoke to last night's Magic-Celtics game, you wouldn't have noticed anything different about KG's game.
He looked… healthy. No hitch in the gait… no dragging of the leg.
I realize this injury was minor compared to those in the past, but my mind is programmed for the worst possible scenario.
While the defense got its quarterback back, last night's effort was below average (106 points, 11 3s). But as KWAPT pointed out in the recap comments, the Celtics beat the Magic with one center. This team's versatility is under appreciated.
On Page 2, Paul Pierce needed only one shot.
Pierce, a typically explosive scorer, was almost dormant.
“Some nights it goes like that,’’ he said.
But there’s something about the waning moments of games that wakes Pierce up. He dealt the Knicks a dagger last month, drilling the game-winner over Amare Stoudemire from the right elbow. Last night, he victimized Jason Richardson, getting to his sweet spot, drilling an 18-footer, getting the foul, and converting a 3-point play that helped the Celtics seal their 109-106 win.
“I’ve been in those situations a number of times,’’ Pierce said. “I really don’t get rattled. I try to keep cool and calm about myself especially in the last two minutes, when the crowd’s frantic and everybody’s going crazy. I just try to zone in at that point in the game and just keep my focus.’’
Pierce acknowledges that in his younger days, he would have been calling for shots.
“Even though I got all the shots,’’ Pierce said jokingly.
Pierce was silent for three quarters. And just when the Magic start focusing their defense on the hot shooting Ray, the Truth jumps up and bites them in the ass.
Another example of this team's versatility. They can beat you in so many different ways.
Related link: ESPN Boston – Pierce finds sweet spot
The rest of the links:
Globe – A spark is provided | Chemistry is key for Celtics | Herald – Shaq, Cs help in time of need | CSNNE – Erden receives guidance from Hedo | Shaq plays after slipping on ice at home | Chemistry is too much for Magic | ESPN Boston – Rapid reaction to win |