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.
"First off, I want to say thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight," Garnett said. "My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about."
Garnett added, "We're not dirty; we're firm, we play aggressive. We're not dirty. Ya know you have to understand the word dirty in this game is very defined. Going under guys, trying to hurt guys, ill intent . . . it's not the way we play basketball. I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand and I wanted to address it. Just because you got a bunch of money don't mean you can open your mouth."
KG is referring to the "old" and "dirty" labels given the Celtics by Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. During an afternoon appearance on WEEI, Danny Ainge tried to downplay the comments as "bulletin board material," and doubted that Garnett was even aware of the comments. Wrong.
Whatever the motivation, Garnett was spectacular last night. The dirty, old dog had a game high 28 points, a game high 14 rebounds, a game high 5 blocks and a game high 3 steals. The dirty and old KG nailed a turnaround jumper with 30 seconds remaining to give the Celtics the lead for good.
Was this Garnett's best game as a Celtic? WEEI's Paul Flannery makes the case for some other performances, but I'm voting for last night's effort. Dominant.
Related links: Globe – After words, his actions spoke loudly | Rivers discusses KG | ESPN Boston – KG thanks owner for extra gas | Garnett's big night as reluctant scorer (Jackie Mac) | Herald – Garnett finds his motivation |
On Page 2, Doc explains the late game mix-up that nearly cost us the win.
"We wanted to go small with one big," Rivers said of the personnel swap that saw Daniels replace Brandon Bass in the final moments. "The mistake we made — and we were trying to scream (to alert the players) -– Marquis should’ve been guarding the ball out of bounds, and Kevin (Garnett) should’ve been on (Al) Horford. They got mixed up, and we got lucky.”
The Celtics actually got lucky twice. After Daniels initially subbed in, he matched up with Horford with the ball being inbounded below the baseline. With a foul to give, Daniels got whistled for playing the role of offensive lineman as Horford tried to muscle his way toward the hoop.
If Daniels was out of position, the Celtics didn't correct it after the whistle. Again Daniels defended Horford coming out of the stoppage in play and Josh Smith alertly noticed the mismatch. Smith lobbed a perfect feed to Horford in the circle with the Hawks down 2 with 2.3 seconds to go, but Daniels this time gave a hard (and clean) foul while making sure Horford didn't get up a shot.
How is it possible that Doc Rivers and his coaching staff didn't recognize that Marquis Daniels was still out of position after that 1st foul? Allowing the mix-up to happen once is understandable, but twice?
A big thanks to Al Horford for bailing out the Celtics by choking. All the pundits who thought Horford was going to be an X-factor last night were right. Horford did admit he should have intentionally missed the 2nd FT.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Pierce delivers at closing time | Allen's ankle bothered him in Game 6 | C's vs Sixers in semis | Globe – 76ers up next (Bob Ryan) | Celtics stepped up defense | Pierce perserveres with strained MCL | Hawks left wondering what could have been | Herald – Celtics deep 6 Hawks | Horford holds head high | Ray Allen struggles painful | How to win a ballgame (Borges)