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Your Morning Dump… Where Grit and Balls may have Been Re-discovered in Atlanta

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.


According to the NBA schedule, the Celtics will host Phoenix on Wednesday. Last night they were a phoenix.Rising from the ashes of a 19-point, first-half deficit, the Celts turned the beating around in stunning fashion, taking an 89-81 victory from the Atlanta Hawks after it seemed yet another dispiriting defeat would be their fate.“We’re scrappy as (expletive) right now,” Kevin Garnett said. “This is what it is. We’re trying to get wins here, and the only way you can get them is sometimes you’ve got to go take them.”But to stage a brilliant comeback, the Celtics had to first construct an opening half that was as embarrassing as it was futile. The Hawks received 21 points from Lou Williams and shot 52.5 percent while cruising to a 53-38 lead that easily could have been larger.

The C’s plane touched down at 2:30 a.m. after a large Friday night win at the Garden. Yet for some reason it took the lads nearly 18 hours to make it to Philips Arena. Having been so lifeless as to seem altogether absent in the first half, the Celts pulled a regeneration move that had you wondering whether Dr. Frankenstein had joined the medical team.

After some strong Celtics words at halftime from captain Paul Pierce, the same Hawks who were able to score 31 points in the first quarter scored just 28 in the entire second half, shooting 14.3 percent in the third quarter and 25 percent overall for the final two periods.

Pierce had 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter while the Celtics were outscoring their hosts 33-9 and taking a measure of control. Rajon Rondo had four points, four rebounds and four assists in the third on the way to his 25th career triple-double (14, 11, 10).

Boston Herald – Celtics Show up Late

The 2012 Celtics were defined by Kevin Garnett’s “grit and balls” description.  Prior to this weekend, the 2013 edition could be described as anything but that.  But with a dominating win Friday at home against the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics finally played defense.  Last night they had all of Celtic nation rolling their eyes at halftime, wondering why they couldn’t even string together a lousy two game effort.  By the time the buzzer sounded in ATL, grit and balls had been re-discovered.

Sure it was one game (one half really) but if the Celtics turn around this disappointing season, there’s no doubt this weekend will be looked upon as the checkpoint.  According to Steve Bulpett’s piece above, Paul Pierce had enough of the bickering at halftime at laid down the hammer.  During the post game interview, he basically said he was tired of seeing the team make the effort for six minutes here and there and wanted a full game of it.  Tommy Heinsohn said essentially the same thing.  The Celtics looked awful in the first half but played so well in the second half that they showed how good they really can be, essentially only needing to play really hard for 24 minutes to defeat a Hawks team that currently resides third in the Eastern Conference, just a handful of games behind the defending champion Miami Heat.

Atlanta scored 31 points in the first quarter, then only managed 28 total in the second HALF.  The Hawks shot 7 for 28 (25%) in the second HALF.  The Celtics scored 18 points on 14 second HALF turnovers by Atlanta.  Lou Willams and Jeff Teague had 34 1st half points on 14-20 shooting. They had 11 combined on 2-6 shooting in the 2nd half.  Paul Pierce made 6 baskets in the 2nd half. The Atlanta Hawks made 7.  (that entire paragraph are compiled tweets from John’s account from last night… his tweets were so good I just had to include them)

While we shouldn’t get too high off this win we should certainly be encouraged.  After all, I’ll leave it to the great Zack De La Rocha and his lyrics from Guerilla Radio: “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime… what better place than here, what better time than now?”

Related links: ESPN Boston – A blueprint for success | Boston Globe – Second-half surge sparks Celtics to victory over Atlanta Hawks | CSNNE- Celtics rally for impressive win over Hawks | Stellar third quarter could turn C’s season | WEEI – Celtics’ second half rally topples Hawks

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston – Doc’s Take: No changes for C’s | Boston Globe – Celtics’ Avery Bradley struggling on offense so far in his return | Indiana Pacers can’t sneak up on rest of the NBA anymore (Sunday Notes) | Boston Herald – Captain Paul Pierce Speaks | A line of DeMarc-ation (Sunday Notes) | CSNNE – Pierce’s leadership gets Celtics back on track | Celtics-Hawks review: Bradley’s effort helps sparks Celtics | Terry: “We have our recipe for success” | Garnett: “Wins are rewarding, progress is icing on the cake” | Rondo, Bradley a dynamic duo

 

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  • eddysamson

    I like how AB is struggling with his shot and yet he still hit some big buckets in the 3rd, one even put us ahead!

    The last 2 nights the starting 5 has been playing like they were last season when they come out in the 3rd. Now they need to start the game like that!

    • LAF

      Those two misses by AB, and his willingness to take and make shots both times after he missed, were my favorite moments of the game. Shows you that this 22-year-old isn’t scared and is indeed special. AB is gonna be a great one.

      As for Rondo, it pisses me off that he was basically a no-show and played his patented matador defense for long stretches last night. And you just know it was Rondo who was pointing fingers and bickering with his teammates and coaches during halftime. Who else would pull that kinda shit? He is turning into a cancer. The biggest primadonna on the team.

  • JG

    Few things:
    1. It has been SO much more fun to watch a team who plays actual defense. I think doc made a great point when he said their problem was that they kept overadjusting instead of staying solid. I think I mentioned people overhelping and losing sight of their men before, similar point I guess.
    2. Rondo has been better the past two games. I still screamed at the tv on a couple of plays where he LITERALLY did not try, but I loved seeing him dive for the loose ball. One thing I was asking my friend is: how come with chris Paul everyone is willing to ignore his stats and say he’s the best PG in the league even though he has never had the best stats (rightly so) but with rondo everyone looks at his stats and says look how good he is? Just food for thought.
    3. Jeff Green is actually getting worse. He’s becoming less and less aggressive. It almost looks like he’s so scared that he can’t dribble anymore. Almost like he’s just playing the minutes because he has to, and trying not to screw up while he’s out there, then happily sitting on the bench. This is getting a little embarrassing.
    4. Avery Bradley is making a bigger difference that I anticipated. I knew he’d be good defensively, but I forgot that NBA point guards literally cannot handle the ball against him. It’s crazy. I think that’s a huge part, which leads to them getting out and scoring in transition. It lessens the need for a big man, though it’d be easier if they just got one.

    • LAF

      Chris Paul doesn’t worry about his numbers and is always willing to move the ball. Rondo counts his numbers and basically obsesses over making himself look good. Remember when Andre Miller was playing for the Cavs? He was averaging 10+ dimes per game but when he got shipped to LA, his game was exposed. Mike D’Antoni was right. Rondo ain’t shit if he’s on another team. Rondo made some crucial jumpers last night but our team is doomed if we’re counting on him to be consistent.

      • LAF

        oh yeah..
        cp3 sets his mates up for easy buckets/dunks in the paint and runs a break like no other. rondo sets up his mates for 20-ft jumpers and generally botches every opportunity in transition.

        • JG

          Right. That was what I was saying though. I agree that Rondo is overrated, but I’m saying that it’s because for some reason the FANS and announcers and analysts for some reason don’t mention Paul’s stats but instead look at his actual impact and production, whereas with rondo they base their argument on his league-leading assist numbers and his rebounding ability for a guard instead of pointing out that what he’s doing often isn’t even helping the team win. I’ve said for months now that they’d be better off if he was averaging 18 and 7.

          • LAF

            very true indeed. they are just enamored with a handful of playoff games where he avg’d a triple double but overlook the fact that he’s been passing to 3 of the very best of all time at their positions. rondo can be a very good rebounding guard but he’s still a trick or treat rondo and will always be due to his mental makeup.

            bird used to criticize dee brown for not working hard enough to improve his shooting. ray was supposedly upset with rondo for not sticking with a routine he showed him to improve his jumper. rondo will never reach his full potential. and you’re right. we’d be better off if he avg’d 18-7 but he’ll never avg 18 ppg. that’s like how people used to hope that antoine walker would shoot a higher percentage. just not going to happen unless guys start respecting his jumper which will never happen.

  • Nate

    Would be great to snag a win before our homestand

  • Larry Legend

    The Captain showed why he’s an all time great Celtic. Rondo still frustrates the hell out of me but was good in 2nd half. Jeff Green is an abomination, and complete black eye for ainge. He may be the most overpaid player in NBA history. Disgusted by his performances at times. Great win for celts tho. Showed some balls. I love watching them when they scrap like that. Love having Bradley back

    • scratch

      I’ve long been a proponent of the Uncle Jeff trade and Uncle Jeff himself but I’m giving another few months and then this plastic guy is melting. This will be the best thing for him now, everyone else is playing pretty well now, nothing is expected of him and he can play under the radar and find a niche for himself. The Knicks 6’9 small forward is coming to town and this is why you’re here Jeff, get in his face, and give us 10 points…otherwise trade him and Wilcox to Washington for Okafor and Chris Singleton.

      • Shawncvd

        eh….if you think Green has a bloated contract….those salaries don’t match

      • Larry Legend

        Nothing expected from him?!! For starters I expect something resembling passion. So far ive seen little from him. He’s had spurts, but not enough of them. I mean he makes 9 mil a year!!!! He has devastatingly underperformed. He’s had his minutes cut down to about 12-15 per game. That’s an indictment. So much talent, so little fire. Jeff Green is the anti Paul Pierce. All the athletic ability in the world but no competitive fire.

    • JG

      100% agreed.

      • JG

        in response to LarryLegend

        • scratch

          I think it’s fair to criticize his production because it’s been horrible. But I really don’t think anyone will care about his demeanor and alleged lack of passion if he starts putting up numbers. Robert Parish was reserved and when he had a bad game fans would assume he didn’t care, didn’t make it true though. Uncle Jeff needs to play better period and the rest will take care of itself.

          • SF Celts fan

            How much longer before we can trade him? I think we should plan a celebration for the day he is traded.

  • KGino

    I know people are saying don’t overreact after 2 games..but it’s ok to be a little giddy. Celtics defense appears to have been restored with the return of AB, and while defense like vs the Hawks and Pacers takes effort, it certainly was not a fluke. Defense is something that doesn’t come and go like fluke shooting games..so I personally think we have turned a corner here (for example, AB is able to play defense at the same level as last year w just a few games back, but his offense hasn’t come along yet).

    Not saying we’ll win every game, but scoring 100 on the C’s isn’t gonna be a cake walk like it was before AB returned, and as a result we will now be in the mix and eventually respected around the league as a top eastern conference team.

    They are definitely capable of putting up a stinker game, just like the first half last night. But when we buckle down on the defensive end, I think we’ll have the #1 D in the nba, and regardless of how bad our offense is doing, our D should keep us in games. Hallelujah, Celtics D is back!!

  • Quest

    Jeff Green has athletic abilities but no Basketball IQ on the court. Guy can’t think on his feet under pressure. Same role as OKC flying under the radar with KD/Westbrook holding the reins.
    Guys questioning Doc’s coaching halftime what’s that all about.

  • Eddie Allen Powe

    Can we talk about the huge Celtic following in the ATL? Their crowd was split even like the Lakers-Clippers crowd the other night. Wearing white jerseys on the road made it more unreal.

    • eddysamson

      I notice that all over. I’m guessing there are two reasons:

      1) Young New Englanders tend to leave and spread out throughout the country, but still love their roots.

      2) the Celtics are such an old, storied, team that they have fans all over the country.

  • Larry Legend

    Quest good point about doc being questiOned at halftime. Would love to know who they were. Unless it’s was KG or Pierce, then they should shut the f— up. Rondo would be my guess. But just a guess. Either way totally unacceptable.

  • The savior

    So for all us deluded homer fans who acted like Avery Bradley was just going to come in and be some kind of savior; talk about putting that unrealistic pressure on the guy, since he’s just a role player; Bill Russell is not walking thru that door, and Bradley is just one man, he ain’t fixin’ this mess, he ain’t a 7 ft big man gettin’ any rebounds or blockin’ any shots…….Well guess what, Avery Bradley is that good, and he is The Savior!

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.glogspot.com ChiefGreenHeadz

    The return of G & B! I LOVE it! Yeah, I think there were some major gut-checks in the locker room last night and it’s great to hear about the leadership that Cappy Paul Pierce showed by essentially telling the boyz “shut up and play” before the second half. In partial tribute to The Truth, check out the new installment of “Conjunction Dunktion” by clicking on my name (my previous post talks about the Pierce-as-leader factor, too). Excellent win for the Celtics, though. Monday will be a great barometer as to how far the C’s have come and how far they’ve yet to go.