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 don't have any surrender or retreat in us," said Keyon Dooling. "You know we're a grind-it-out team. We're going to continue to come back. We're going to fight; we're going to claw; we're going to scratch. We're going to do whatever we've got to do to try and win basketball games."
Now a team that has struggled with consistency has even less of a margin for error, needing to win four of the next five games to prolong its season.
And yet there is a never-wavering optimism from the Boston locker room.
"We still know we have to play better, but I think our guys know now that we can play (with Miami)," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said during a conference call Thursday afternoon. "I don't know if they knew it or not after Game 1, it was such a bad loss for us, I think we needed to have that type of game (Wednesday). Obviously, we would have rather won it, but our guys are very confident going into Game 3."
Echoed Celtics captain Paul Pierce: "If we continue to play with that effort and play with that passion, I really like our chances."
Momentum can shift with home court. Did you watch OKC throttle the Spurs last night?
Behind a raucous crowd, the Celtics will:
Get Kevin Garnett more involved on offense.
Limit Miami's offensive rebounds. The Heat are not a good rebounding team and, like Boston, ranked in the bottom third of the league all season.
Get to the free throw line. Refs are swayed by home court.
Related links: WEEI – Why the Celtics will still beat Heat | Globe – Doc says prognosis positive | Herald – What more can C's do? | CSNNE – Doc: We have to make more improvements | Third time's a charm for these Celtics
On Page 2, the free throw disparity is nothing new to Heat opponents.
This isn't the first time in the playoffs that Miami's ability to get to the free throw line or draw fouls has gotten underneath its opponents' skin. New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson pointed to the discrepancy in the first-round series, when the Heat averaged 31.3 free throw attempts to 17 by the Knicks in the three games played in Miami. The averaged attempts were virtually even at 29 apiece in the two games the teams played in New York.
The Heat won that series in five games before advancing to face the Indiana Pacers in the second round. But even before that series started, coach Frank Vogel was fined $15,000 for what the league deemed attempts to influence the officiating when Vogel told reporters before Game 1 that the Heat were the biggest flopping team in the NBA.
The Heat averaged eight more trips to the line than Indiana in the three games played in Miami, but shot about two fewer than the Pacers during the three games in Indiana. Overall, Miami has attempted 383 free throws compared to 308 by its opponents through 13 playoff games this season.
Nothing new here. The Heat ranked 2nd in FTA this season. They play aggressive. LeBron and D-Wade get superstar treatment.
But.. when Celtics players get raked in the face, I expect them to be at the free throw line.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Letting bygones be bygones | No answers for Rondo | ESPN Boston – Doc on officials: Not going to touch that | Herald – C's glad to be home | Rivers stays mum on refs | Blocks big for Miami | Garden rocks for going away party | WEEI – Officiating at center of debate | CSNNE – Allen beginning to get back on target |