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 told the guys in the locker room [at halftime], if we just cut this lead in half, they’ll give us a chance to win the game,’’ said Pierce. “Once we saw the lead go to 11 at the end of the third, we were like, there’s some life right here. Usually Doc will pull the plug, especially in a back-to-back situation, if we’re down 18 going to the fourth quarter, but he saw there was life in us.’’
During the break between the third and fourth quarters, Rivers told Pierce he was going to pull him from the game after the first possession of the fourth. But Moore drained a 3-pointer 37 seconds into the quarter to reduce the deficit to 75-67, and Rivers scrapped his plan.
“We saw that they got frustrated,’’ Pierce said. “Yelling at the refs, picking up techs. We started getting to the loose balls. I thought we played with more energy the second half. We hustled. We were the aggressor.’’
An improbable victory that could turnaround the Celtics season might never have happened if Doc Rivers stuck with his original plan to pull Paul Pierce at the start of the 4th quarter.
No one would have blamed Doc. Pierce had already played 32 minutes and the Celtics had the Pacers on the schedule in a mere 24 hours. The worst case scenario has the Celtics expending a ton of energy as they claw their way back, only to lose the game anyways. It’s a scenario that happens a lot in a league where teams routinely give up double digit leads. But Doc followed his gut… and the rest is history.
On Page 2, E’Twaun Moore is a cocky little kid.
“The other night, we won because of Avery’s [Bradley] defense,” said coach Doc Rivers. “Tonight, we won because of E’Twaun’s defense and E’Twaun’s offense. For a rookie in this atmosphere, that was sensational.”
Pierce was among the many Celtic players to praise the rookie and maybe even more important, leave no doubt that he was confident Moore would come through down the stretch.
“I told him on the court that when they double me, you better shoot the ball,” Pierce recalled after leading the C’s from 27 points down. “He displayed a lot of confidence, especially on the play where he went one-on-one and shot the lay-up (in the fourth quarter). That just shows he is gaining more confidence.”
“He’s a cocky little kid, but in a good way,” Rivers said. “And that’s good.”
You had to watch Moore to truly appreciate his peformance in this game. Not only was he taking and making big shots, but his effort on defensive was impressive. Following in the footsteps of Avery Bradley, Moore was in Jameer Nelson’s grill in that 4th quarter. It’s very easy for a rookie to be impressed with himself on offense and take a breather on defense. Not Moore. Not on this team.
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(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)