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.
"We won this game because of Jermaine O'Neal. That's it. He was… forget his offense… his defense, his presence, his shot blocking, his rebounding, his toughness… and he did it in both halfs. He was absolutely wonderful" – Doc Rivers
Thank GOD Jermaine O'Neal was back and ready for that game. The way the Knicks were swatting shots all over the place (they had nine, four for Ronny Turiaf), it was nice to see some late game defensive heroics on our end too.
I know what people are going to say when I say this… but Jermaine O'Neal showed that what this system really needs is a defensive presence in the middle along side Kevin Garnett to really have its best chance at success.
….AH AH AH AH…. I'm going to stop you right there…. let me finish before you bring up a certain Oklahoma City center….
And the return of at least ONE of the O'Neals is why Danny felt like he could take the chance to bring in Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and others (and the draft pick). This kind of performance by one guy named O'Neal on his back. And so what if the first name is a different one than he thought would be there right now? What matters is someone was back there to block four shots and protect the basket.
Go back and look at the progression of Jermaine O'Neal in our taking stock series… after a few early "holds" just to see if his knee would respond well, he was a buy for the rest of the season. The surgery was the right choice at the right time. He's healthy now and hopefully he will remain that way. The C's have a day off today, they play tomorrow, and then they have two more days off. There's plenty of time to rest, ice, and treat him and everyone else this series.
This way, maybe, we can at least keep one O'Neal healthy until the parade.
On page 2: Ray talks about the final play
“Sometimes the shot goes in, sometimes it doesn’t,’’ said Celtics guard Ray Allen.
Sometimes Paul Pierce keeps it for himself, the way he did against the Knicks in December. He got a screen from Kevin Garnett, shifted his way to his sweet spot, and hit a winner overAmar’e Stoudemire.
Sometimes Pierce will look for the dish. That’s how it worked out last night when he swung the ball to Allen, who drilled a 3-pointer from 24 feet out with 11.6 seconds left to seal the Celtics’ 87-85 win over the Knicks in Game 1.
“There are so many different options off that play that we went to and we knew exactly what to expect,’’ Allen said. “We don’t predetermine. It’s a play that has so many options and tonight I was just the option.’’
At the end of that video Doc praises Pierce for making the pass… and he's right. The whole thing was a great playoff play. And I phrase it that way because the refs let a TON of contact go. Melo bumped Pierce… Ray and Douglas had their hands all over each other… Douglas then tripped over KG on the screen… Bodies were flying all over the place. In that situation, you practically have to pull a gun on someone to get a foul (though I'm sure Knicks fans will disagree, given the Carmelo Anthony offensive foul).
We have seen that play run a lot before. We've seen Pierce take the shot… KG… Ray… and probably a few others. It's a beauty where Ray sets the pick for Paul at the top, then KG almost sneaks up behind the play and picks Ray's guy as he's reacting to the first part of the play. Ray the flies out to the wing and now you probably have one of the Big 3 ready to make the play. Either you get what we saw last night… or the pick on Pierce was good enough to spring him to his sweet spot… or KG's guy will get lost in the confusion and he'll get a jumper.
Any one of those options works. I'll gladly take last night's result… especially since it was part of Ray Allen's resurgence. That right there might be the most important part of it all.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Game Story Video: Celtics take game one | Not a winning effort | Billups not sure he'll play game 2 | Celtics shut down Stoudemire in final minutes | Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts | Celtics come back to beat Knicks | ESPN Boston: Postgame notes: Pierce's defense gets offensive (foul) | Rapid reaction | WEEI: Doc Rivers, C's drop Knicks execution style | Ray's trey sinks Knicks | Herald: Celtics Ray-se the roof (ed. note: are you kidding me, Herald headline writers?) | Knicks cut to chase | Paul Pierce gets the job done | Baby, Stoudemire exchange mild barbs | Murphy getting used to new place: playoffs | Globe: Already memorable moments (Shaughnessy) | Nick of time | No upsetting developments here