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.
"Honestly, I haven't used the word 'soft' with us in maybe four years, but at halftime, that word came out a lot," Rivers said. "We just played basketball. We didn't make one adjustment. Not one. We just played in the second half. We played the way we're capable of playing: With a sense of urgency, we were more physical and we made some shots."
If Rivers only insinuated the cushy state of the Celtics, the message wasn't lost. Garnett, who fancies banging his head against a padded metal stanchion before the start of each half, didn't particularly like the idea of being the pad and not the stanchion.
"I think we're all men in here — even some women — and I think if you call them soft at some point, when you're in an aggressive mode, it's not what you want to hear at the time, you know?" Garnett said. "So you can't take that a couple of ways. You take that one way and that's how we took it."
"I didn't use it," Rivers said of the word "soft." "I kind of danced around the word. They knew where I was going, but I didn't use the word. I just said, 'I'd like to see us today. Let's see if we play our game, and if we lose, let's go out that way.'
"It was a good win, a bloodbath. But I thought it was beautiful."
A bloodbath indeed. When the Celtics ramp up the defense and hustle to the level we witnessed last night, there are very few teams that can hang. The Knicks are certainly not one of them.
We routinely saw the 34-year old Garnett outhustling the 28-year old Stoudemire, the 33-year old Pierce outworking the 26-year old Carmelo Anthony.
After a game like this, there's concern the Celtics expended too much energy. But Rajon Rondo was the only player to collect 40+ minutes. Ray Allen went for his average – 37 minutes. Paul Pierce played 35 and Garnett just 33 minutes. Let's hope we don't see a hangover Wednesday vs Memphis.
And is there a bigger coaching mismatch than Doc Rivers vs Mike D'Antoni? One preaches hustle and defense, the other preaches quick shots. What's that old saying… offense wins championships?
On Page 2, Ray Allen's giant headache.
The only question now is whether Allen passes a concussion test, though the Celtics guard said last night he didn’t know if he was in line for any exam.
“That was probably as bad as it’s been,” he said. “When I went down I looked at my hand and the blood was pouring out. For 15 minutes I had an excruciating headache. So when I (went to the locker room, trainer) Ed (Lacerte) taped me up. I just sat there and tried to get my wits about me. Once he taped me up I knew I was fine.
“I still bled throughout the game, but better to be on the floor for me and the team than to be back here. Once I got up I did some squats, moved around and didn’t feel disoriented at all, so I was able to run back on the floor.”
As bad as Ray looked, was there any doubt he was coming back into the game?
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Playoff atmosphere vs Knicks | KG's green squirrel | Rapid Reaction | Herald – Ray Allen hits the bloody deck | CSNNE – Allen returns from blow to head | Globe – No need to play panic game with experienced Celtics | Jeff Green open to return | WEEI – Celtics outlast Knicks |