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.
"I was aggressive," said Garnett. "I won’t call it a zone. I’ve been in a zone and that wasn’t it. Man, I’ve been in a zone and that wasn’t it. I had a nice rhythm going. Guys looked for me. I had [Rajon Rondo] and Paul [Pierce] encouraging me. I’ve got to continue to be aggressive. It gives us a force and another source of scoring. At the same time, I can’t lose my focus on trying to slow [Chris] Bosh down and making sure that that is even ground. I’ve got to make sure that my focus is defense first and then being a post presence, or whatever I need to be, for this series."
Bosh finished 1-of-6 shooting for six points with five rebounds over 30:15. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh woke up with a pinched nerve in his neck, but it might have actually come from watching many of Garnett's 20 attempts sail over him and through the twine.
Garnett was so locked in, coach Doc Rivers blatantly called plays for him even when Garnett didn't want the ball.
"It was funny, you could tell he needed a break with the two minutes left [in the third quarter]," said Rivers. "And I know his run. His head’s bobbing; you could just see it. And I called a punch — a post play for him — and he called it off and tried to call a movement play. So I called it back. And I went right back [to the post play] and said, ‘No, we’re going to the post — to you.’ And Kevin’s nuts because, when he scored, he’s running down the court [screaming], ‘Get the ball to me!’ And I’m laughing. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to do.’"
While everyone is gushing about Rajon Rondo (and rightfully so), Kevin Garnett may have played his best game in a Celtics uniform. Pretty good timing, huh?
The patented jumper, those baby hooks and the gobbling up of nearly every rebound. His 18 boards were 7 more than the Heat's highest rebounder (Anthony – 11) and more than 3x greater than the Celtics second leading rebounder (Pierce – 5).
He absolutely owned Chris Bosh (6 points, 1-6 FG) and while you might laugh off that accomplishment, remember that Bosh got the best of KG in Games 1 and 2.
There are two huge questions hanging over Game 3. How will Rondo's elbow feel? And… Will the 34-year old Garnett be able to bounce back after such an exhausting performance?
On Page 2, the defense was phenomenal.
The tone was initially set by Pierce, who harassed LeBron James on one end, then challenged him with an array of jumpers, pull-ups and drives on the other. Pierce scored nine points in the first five minutes of the game…
Boston played an aggressive two-way game that was all about a team that knew its season was on the line. Those wide open 3-pointers that James swished in Miami were now contested. When he drove to the basket, there was help waiting in the form of Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal and — gasp — even Shaquille O'Neal. The King played like a mere commoner on Saturday, missing 10 of his 16 shots and 4 of his 7 free throws. James checked out with 15 points.
Credit Pierce for affecting his rhythm. Resident whipping boy Jeff Green also provided the kind of gritty defense that skeptical Celtics fans have been waiting on since he arrived in a deal for the popular Kendrick Perkins.
Paul Pierce wins the defensive player of the game award. He was in Lebron's smug grill all night. I guess that Achilles wasn't a factor like I feared.
Pierce's effort was so infectious, even the mild-mannered Jeff Green played with a never-before-seen defensive urgency.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE – Big 3 carry Celtics in Game 3 | Shaq contributes outside box score | West steps in for Rondo | Celtics regain footing, cool Heat | Herald – Celtics make it a series | Celebrating Shaq back | After the adrenaline | Rondo gives Cs elbow room | Globe – Bend but no break in Rondo | Pierce rallied troops early | Celtics level Heat | Shaq return makes big difference | ESPN Boston – Rondo charges Cs | Yahoo – Rondo retaliates after gruesome injury |