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Your Morning Dump..where Paul Pierce enjoys the big stage

We’ve seen it countless times. Paul Pierce buries a big shot in crunch time at Madison Square Garden and takes a bow. Or knocks Nate Robinson off his back. Well, last night was more of the same, as Pierce’s clutch step-back jumper sealed a win in the closing seconds over the Knicks.

Chris Forsberg-Paul Pierce enjoys big stage:

When his step-back jumper over Tyson Chandler in the final minute of Monday’s visit to New York effectively sealed a victory, Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce – as he is wont to do on the Madison Square Garden floor — smiled and blew a kiss to an audience that couldn’t jeer him loud enough.

Just another night on Broadway for Pierce, who in seasons past has soared like an airplane (while Nate Robinson crashed behind him) and taken a midcourt bow after other big shots on the MSG floor.

Pierce smiled again inside the Celtics’ locker room on the heels of the 102-96 triumph when asked to explain his impulsive reactions.

“I don’t know what I do with a lot of these shots,” Pierce said. “I just react. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just react. I don’t think about it.”

It has been a while since Pierce could break out a positive reaction. After all, the Celtics haven’t had much to celebrate over the first third of the 2012-13 season. Inconsistent play and a disappearing defense left the team three games under .500 last week.

You definitely saw that the swagger was back in New York last night. This could have been a game that Boston easily surrendered (mentally) before the opening tip, with Rajon Rondo sitting out due to another suspension for bumping a ref. Then, Pierce got in early foul trouble and it looked like this could be yet another regression into “bad Celtics”. But not on this night:

The Celtics could have leaned on Rondo’s absence as an excuse. They could have rolled over when Pierce got in early foul trouble (earning his only cheers of the night) and New York built a double-digit lead without him and Kevin Garnett on the floor.

Instead, Boston dug in, leaned on the depth it had compiled this offseason, and scrapped its way back. The Celtics so completely frustrated the Knicks and got under their skin thatCarmelo Anthony was left chasing Garnett into the tunnel leading to the teams’ locker rooms after the game.

For Pierce and the Celtics, it probably felt like old times. And having worked everyone from Melo to Spike Lee and the rest of the blue-and-orange-clad fans into a full lather, Pierce offered a little smooch to the crowd.

Mwaaaaaaah! The Celtics officially are back.

“It’s big for us,” Pierce said. “We’re starting to put some games together. The Knicks have really been playing well all year long, one of the top teams in all the NBA. It’s a real confidence boost when you come in on their floor with the way they’ve been playing and get a win.”

This 3-game win streak is very reminiscent of last year’s Boston Celtics. The team muddled through an ugly 15-17 start, the went on to win 8 of 10, and really started to come together. But we’re still only 17-17 this season. Fortunately, Doc, KG and company are not satisfied and know this squad can play much, much better. And defense must be a top priority:

“When you have Indiana and Atlanta back-to-back, then you play the Knicks after that — to win all three of those games, that’s great for our team,” Rivers said. “Winning this game here, without Rondo, just tells you our guys hung in there. It’s funny, we didn’t have much of an offense, just spread. That’s all we could run, because we didn’t have a lot of sets without Rondo.

“But our defense was fantastic. In the first half, I was upset because I thought we gave up [about] seven 3s that they shouldn’t have had, and it was our mistakes. In the second half, we corrected them, we took them off the 3-point line and made them make 2s for the most part. That’s what we wanted to do.”

And this is how Boston wanted to play from the start of the season. Rivers is hoping Monday’s win is a bit of a microcosm: A rough start and a gritty finish that closes with Boston getting varied contributions and making key plays at critical junctures.

“We’re just playing decent basketball,” Garnett said. “Obviously, we can get better, and that’s where we’re at. We’re just trying to improve as a team.”

“We’re defending a whole lot better,” Pierce added. “We’re putting more pressure on teams, we’re rebounding the ball a lot better, we’re moving the ball, and this is the type of ball we envisioned when we came together. So hopefully we can keep it going.”

The rest of the links:

Globe: Anthony attempts to confront Garnett on Celtics’ bus| Herald: Celtics show they belong| CSNNE: Tension mounts ESPN Boston: Doc-Sullinger not going anywhere

 

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  • http://Hotnewhiphop.com/Abwon Abwon

    Tip your hat to Jeff Green, Sullinger, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass tonight. Jeff Green completely put the bench on his back when Pierce was out due to foul trouble and exploited Steve Novak’s inability to defend. Sullinger’s physicality in the paint bothered Tyson Chandler towards the end of the game, Lee’s defense was fantastic, and Bass is finally starting to trust his jumper again. Even Barbosa came in and scored a few buckets in very few minutes. Once Terry gets out of his slump (which I think will be very soon) then our bench will be dismantling teams before the 2nd half. It’s only a 3 game winning streak but Boston’s looking more and more like contenders every game.

  • Patrick

    After last night’s ball movement & team play I hope the only guy on the trading block is Rondo … young, talented pg w/ favorable contract should bring us the center we need AND allow our overall roster to compete for a title

    • Thomas

      Rondo and trade do not belong in the same paragraph.

  • Larry Legend

    I hope it literally killed rondo to watch last night. These boys played so hard. Wake up you selfish bitch. Grow up and get on board or get the hell outta here. Go celts!!!

    • Rain

      Agree. Especially play more hard defense please.

    • JBcelticsFan

      Dude Rondo shouldnt have gotten suspended. Just Stern abusing his power again. Rondo didnt get a tech and the ref just laughed it off. Rondo gives effort like everybody else. You must be on the “hate rondo” bandwagon.

      • Larry Legend

        No JB I’m on the get your ass in line rondo bandwagon. I’ve defended his ass many times in the past, but enough is enough. Guy is a selfish bitch. Tired of his bit. It’s weak. He did bump the guy like a punk. Doesn’t matter how hard. And ref laughed at him cuz he knows what rondo is. A scrawny little punk whose never got his ass kicked because he’s never been in a real fight in his life. Leave the tough guy, punk act at home rondo and just do your job and shut the hell up

        • JBcelticsFan

          Wow dude. listen to yourself, “A scrawny little punk whose never got his ass kicked because he’s never been in a real fight in his life”? You sound like one of those heat fanboys. You just lost credibility making statements like that. I’m not even gonna waste my time.

          • Brian

            punk ass bitch? I really hope you see rondo around town like I do and walk up to him and tell him that. when you wake up from your coma hopefully you can make it to the parade. He is the best pg in the league. His 15 foot jumper is now a 50% shot. people who say he cant shoot havent seen him drive to the hoop or saw him come in second to kevin durant of all people in a game of horse. His lapses on d are because until bradley came back he had to pick up the other teams best guard for 40 mins. With Bradley back everyone gets better we saw that last night.

          • Larry Legend

            Lost credibility with you JB?!! Hahaha!!! Boy I hope I can get back in your good graces….don’t take yourself so seriously bruh you’re not important.

          • LAF

            Brian,
            the league arguably has the most talent at the 2-4 spots. Did that ever deter guys like Pierce & KG from playing hard throughout their careers?

            Rondo is trash. If Rondo had played last night, guys like Green would not have dominated and Bradley certainly would’ve been sitting on the bench a lot.

            Do we even win the game with Rondo? Doubtful.

          • thekid

            @jbcelticsfan and brian… you would actually be scared of saying something to rondo on the street? He is a 170 soaking wet and there is a 0% chance he can fight. I am a big rondo fan but god damn are you two soft, thats pathetic

    • RedsLoveChild

      I can easily understand anyone feeling that Rondo is overrated. His deficiencies are clear. No way is he a Top 3 PG.

      At the same time, it`s unrealistic to think we can pick up a better PG than him. RR has talent, he plays hard, he`s in his prime, he`s definitely an asset.

      Still, if a team wanted to give us a young, talented, “big” for RR…I`d make that trade in a second!

      • LAF

        Rondo is not even a top 10 PG.

        Rondo plays hard??? On what day of the month?

        • RedsLoveChild

          I`m far from being a big Rondo fan, nor would I be in tears if he got traded….but he`s in the top 10 amongst PG`s. Not top 5.

          RR plays hard…he plays in pain…he answers the bell…the Celts have much bigger problems than him.

          • LAF

            no. rondo IS the biggest problem because he dominates the ball on offense and breaks down the most on defense. look at the ATL game. every basket but one or two scored by lou williams was over rondo. rondo so bad on D hd even got torched by a nobody in europe! remember that preseason game? who knew thatwas the harbinger of things to come?

      • KGino

        Nobody cares what you have to say PlasticDollChild!! The guy sways whichever way the wind is blowing!!

        • RedsLoveChild

          Sorry, KGino…Boston`s 3 game winning streak seems to have you hallucinating!

          I`ll repeat what I`ve stated all along, good luck finding any inconsistencies.

          The Celts will not win a ring this year…AB, JS must not be traded…any RR trade must bring us a young talented big, or else no deal…the rest of the roster, including KG, PP should be used as trade bait.

          • KGino

            I’ll repeat something you’ve said.. the Celtics won’t make the playoffs this year!! Their options are to DIE OR BLOW IT UP!!..

            I must be hallucinating you said those things and I must be hallucinating for assuming the Celtics will definitely make the playoffs, which I told you a month ago!!

            Trade KG & Pierce, you are a joke! Your NBA IQ is isn’t even double digits!!

            I’ll continue to post more proof, and continue making you look like a fool, because I can’t stand what a fake fan you are!!

          • RedsLoveChild

            When have you posted “proof”?

            All I see you doing is either taking my comments out of context, or using outright misquotes.

            Isn`t it also time for you to go back to calling me a Laker troll?

          • Chief

            Reds even to suggest we trade KG and PP is stupid

    • Thomas

      Rondo did nothing wrong except joke to the referee. What is to get in line?

  • JBcelticsFan

    The bench played their a**es off last night!! Great win, great team basketball. Celtics defense is back!!!

    • Larry Legend

      Yes they did. Great performance from the bench. I live watching Celtics defense.

  • JBcelticsFan

    The people saying trade Rondo have to be the dumbest fans on earth. You want to trade a top 3 PG because of one win without him? IF rondo played last night it would have been a blowout.

    • LAF

      rondo is top 3? yeah…in our division.

  • Jester00

    Jeff Green had good game last night he kind of reminds me of this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLq2-uZd5LY

    SULLY IS A GROWN A$$ MAN

  • Larry Legend

    Rondo is a punk. And as far as waking from a coma, you just tried to prove rondo can shoot by citing a game of horse!! Ahahaaaa!!! What a clown. You ever see rondo make a big shot in crunch time other thsn a layup? No you haven’t. Cuz he’s not a good shooter. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good player cuz he is most of the time. Doesn’t excuse him from being a punk. He’s a punk. Period point blank

  • Larry Legend

    Haha!!! Missed your comment about “seeing” him around town! Classic. Good for you buddy. You must feel pretty privileged. Let me guess: he said “what’s up” to you too! Now you’re boys…that’s awesome Brian. Not many fans can say that they hang with Rondo…

    • Brian

      Yea what’s exactly what I said. I’m saying you are hiding behind your keyboard and you would never say that to him in public. When rondo was out against the lakers and tony allen played point we won that game two but you are better off with Rondo as your point guard. If you think his attitude is a problem then I guess you know don’t know much about Larry Bird. He was a nasty SOB. Have I seen rondo hit a shot in cruch time? why yes, yes I have. His jump shot from the elbow is as soild as parkers. You can look it up

      • Larry Legend

        So just say “you wouldn’t say it to him in person”. Don’t need to add that you pass by him all the time. But I digress cuz you just compared rondo to Larry Bird. You obviously are not worth responding to. Think things out next time before you make ridiculous comments that reveal your blatant ignorance. Larry Bird is one of the greatest basketball players to ever walk the earth. Get your head out of your ass.

      • Jim

        Rondo’s elbow jumper is becoming more accurrate because defenders don’t respect it. Now that he is hitting it defenders will step up in the fast break and Rondo won’t go by them unless he knows he can avoid contact because he’s afraid to get hit because he can shoot free throws. Lets not act like Rondo has not come up clutch in the past (Game 7 of last years ECS) but he is a problem child and even as a near 27 year old has some serious growing up to do. When KG and PP are gone he is going to need to lead this team and that’s a lot to ask of a guy who gets suspended 3 times in 11 months.

  • Curt

    and once again…I fking love this team.

    KWAPT, I am completely pumped when you guys remember little crap that I remember but feel like no one else does.

    “Pierce Tebows, Pierce knocks Nate off his back, etc.” That’s awesome.

    • KWAPT

      Thanks Curt-I’d love to sit back & take all the credit, but Forsberg’s piece reminded me of the Nate moment. BUT…I did remember the Tebowing one all by myself.. o_O

  • KGino

    Celts fans UNMELT!!!

    There are very few of us in here that have stayed firm as a DIAMOND in our belief in this team during the last month.. and I was one of them… so it feels right to tell you all…. I TOLD YOU SO!!

    WELCOME BACK ON THE BANDWAGON, I’VE BEEN PARKED IN THE SAME SEAT FOR 15 YEARS!!

  • Patrick

    Love rondo or hate him …. He is the guy that needs to be moved … All Boston needs is ball movement … For whatever reason it does not happen w/ rondo … I hate to say it but I do not blame Ray for even joining the heat … I AM A RONDO FAN but Celts need a legit big man and rondo is in my mind the least damaging to move and holds value

    • Jim

      Agreed, but then we do not have a point guard. And we have seen how this team struggles when they don’t have one (Golden State two weeks ago). Sure, Paul can play point forward for a game here and there but asking him to do it every night is unfair. I actually despise Rondo I think he is bad for the locker room and mails way to many games in but if we can’t get a pg AND a center then this team would completely fall apart.

  • Larry Legend

    Very intelligent response.

  • LAF

    i think that might’ve been rondo’s mama, LL.

  • KWAPT

    I deleted that idiotic comment-would’ve deleted it earlier if I’d have seen it.

  • Larry Legend

    LAF I think you’re right. Mrs. Rondo got a way with words huh?

  • LA Flake

    would explain a lot about rondo’s persona. apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, y’know…