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’ve got great character,” Rivers said. “Tough-minded group. You could see they wanted to win that game so bad.”
“This team has resolve,” Rivers said. “They do. On paper, all that stuff, you know who we are. But they figure it out. They like each other and I think that allows us to win games on certain nights that we shouldn’t win. I really believe it.”
Rivers went so far as to say that this is the toughest group he’s coached in Boston. He will always love his first Orlando team that won 42 games with Darrell Armstrong as his leading scorer, but this team is doing what that one couldn’t.
“I had one in Orlando but we couldn’t win any games. This team, they’re just tough. I don’t know why. I wish I knew,” Rivers said. “Once we went small it was like, guys this is who we are and this is how we have to play the rest of the year and they’ve really bought into it.”
This is the genius of Doc Rivers. He'll rip the team to shreads for lackluster efforts and pump their tires after emotional victories.
And the guys love him for it. It's why Rajon Rondo is demanding to stay in the game, tallying 47 minutes in the final game of a 4 game/5 night stretch. It's why KG will play center. It's why Ray Allen will give up his stats as a starter.
The Celtics didn't need to win this game. They had an acceptable excuse (schedule fatigue) to lose. But they are fighting like I've never seen before.
On Page 2, Brandon Bass talks about his knee scare.
Bass, who stumbled backward over the baseline as he chased a loose ball in front of the Boston bench, admitted he was pretty worried when he first hit the floor.
"I felt like I was a little kid, I was just scared, man," Bass said. "It hurt so bad, I think because I was so tensed up. Once I breathed and relaxed, everything started calming down."
Bass immediately grabbed his left knee and teammates gathered around him to check his status. Rivers in particular had a "here we go again" look on his face, reflecting a season in which his team has been absolutely battered by injury.
Once the Celtics realized the injury was minor, they started busting Bass' chops.
"I told him to get up," Rajon Rondo joked. "I said it a couple times — just told him to get up. He got right back up."
This play scared the crap out of me. I could only think – "This f-in team is cursed."
The rest of the links:
Globe – Rondo assists helping cause | Celtics eke out OT win | Pietrus returns from concussion | Herald – Rondo triples up again | Pietrus shakes off hard times in return | Celtics win in worst way | ESPN Boston – Rapid Reaction: Celtics 88 Hawks 86 | CSNNE – The worst game we've ever won | Pavlovic: I just play basketball | Maxwell: Offer Garnett a deal after the season | WEEI – Pietrus makes unexpected return | Rajon Rondo: We kept fighting | Yahoo! – Wade, Ray Allen think Olympians should be paid