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 call him Swag… He's our leader. This one's for Swag, aka 9, aka Rondo. Hope you listening boy. I know you not. I know you're someone going crazy. What's up. See you on the plane.
We're a defensive team that can score the ball. We hang our hat on defense. Didn't shoot the ball like we wanted to, but it is what it is. I thought P was aggressive early, got him rolling… whenever you get the Cap going it's always a good sign.
It came down to defense. MP's defense, Paul's defense, Quis giving big minutes, Keyon coming in giving big minutes, Avery controlling Teague in 2nd half..
We gutted it out, man. You know what we are man? We all grit, all grit man. All grit and balls man, that's what it is.
Do yourself a favor and listen to the audio of KG's interview with Grande and Max. It's vintage Garnett. A transcription doesn't do it justice.
As for Garnett's "grit and balls" comment, he's 100% accurate. This team fights like no other. It's as if they want games to be played this way. Easy is boring.
There isn't a team in the playoffs with less "grit and balls" than the Hawks. They are the anti-Celtics.
On Page 2, Doc Rivers called on the bench and they delivered.
Marquis Daniels, who rotated between guarding Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich down the stretch, provided the kind of reserve value Rivers has been counting on for the past month. Coupled with strong late defense by Mickael Pietrus — an early non-entity because of foul trouble — this duo was an important part of the Celtics’ finishing unit.
And then there was Keyon Dooling’s 3-pointer with 6:34 left in the third quarter. The Celtics had missed their first 19 treys of the series before that shot, but Dooling’s corner bomb broke an emotional dam.
He hit another from the same spot three minutes later, and the engine finally had turned over. The Celtics, who outscored Atlanta by a 33-16 margin the rest of the way starting with Dooling’s second trey, were ready for their most satisfying comeback of the season.
“I thought Keyon’s shot was the biggest shot of the game,” Rivers said. “(The coaches) notice it, you guys notice it. Well, the players notice it. Paul walked into the locker room after the game and the first guy he searched out was Keyon. He said that was huge. That shot got our feet back. Just a huge shot for us.”
So much for a short rotation in the playoffs. Even with Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo sidelined, I didn't expect Doc Rivers to go 10 deep in this game.
While the stat lines of the reserves won't blow you away, they all brought energy and defense to the table.
Mickael Pietrus (19 minutes) was not right in that first half. His play was so foggy, I feared he suffered another head injury. He's had two subpar games. MP needs to find his game because Paul Pierce can't play Superman every night.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Rapid Reaction: C's 87 – Hawks 80 | Avery: His defense never rests | Celtics are old pros | Globe – Undermanned Celtics come home with split | Reverting to game plan paid off at end | Johnson not worried about shooting woes | Hawks faltered under defensive pressure | Herald – Pierce's brilliance saves C's in 4th | Penalty as predicted | WEEI – Dooling: Celtics won it for Rondo | Doc on Pierce: He was a monster | Pierce: I felt I had to do everything | CSNNE – Smith goes down | Hawks can't handle Truth in Game 2