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.
After Rondo’s devastating injury, Pierce and Kevin Garnett gathered the team in the locker room and challenged them to do more.”It could have gone two ways,” said Pierce in an interview Friday night. “We could have sulked, got down on ourselves and the team, or we could do what we’re doing, which is rally together and use this as an opportunity to step up and prove everybody wrong.”Pierce acknowledged that when local and national pundits declared the Celtics’ season doomed, it became a rallying cry in the locker room, with Garnett generating the most noise.”We heard a lot of stuff after Rondo and Sully went down,” Pierce said. “A lot of the guys in here didn’t like it. They have too much pride.”You couldn’t help but hear it. All the time. I don’t watch a lot of TV, because I don’t have time with my kids and all, but it was impossible not to know what was being said. It was all around.”Boston is 14-4 since Rondo’s injury, and the debate rages on whether the Celtics could possibly be better without their All-Star point guard.”We’re different,” Pierce said. “We’re more opportunistic. If you go back to last year, we were struggling with Rondo before the All-Star break. But then we got it together, and we were one game away from the Finals — with Rondo.”
Jackie Mac delivers another fantastic piece yet again. It’s amazing to think even for a moment that someone like Paul Pierce has been underrated and underappreciated for such a great career here in Boston. But there is some truth to The Truth going a bit under the radar here and across the NBA’s landscape. So when someone like Jackie Mac writes something like this, we’re all reminded just how lucky and grateful we should be to have Pierce as a Celtic. Pierce sheds a tiny bit of light as to how the team felt following Rajon Rondo’s season ending ACL tear and just what fueled the team.
He’s absolutely right when he said that it could have gone two ways. But when Pierce and Kevin Garnett are your leaders, it’s really difficult to imagine them looking their teammates in the eyes and declaring the season is now over. They could have eased up as Jeff Green pointed out, using their age and more importantly, their mileage (physically, mentally and emotionally) as excuses to coast to the end of the season and perhaps collectively, end of their careers.
No, instead they want to show the younger players what it means to keep fighting. What it means to become a championship team. What it means to truly be Celtics. Are they title contenders? Can they seriously challenge Miami for a shot at the title? The answers to those questions don’t really matter. What matters is how those guys in that locker room truly feel. The way they’ve been playing lately it’s clear that they still believe they can defeat anyone. Pierce said it best himself:
“Anything is possible,” said Pierce. “We match up really well with Miami, and we’ve beaten Indiana twice. We match up well with New York, Brooklyn. So you’re talking about the top-four teams in the East right there.
“Ask around. I don’t think anyone is going to want to play us.”
That’s what matters most. Just a great piece by Jackie. She also gets some great quotes from Doc as well. One thing is for sure, we know these guys pay attention to what’s said about them and if it motivates them to keep playing like this, even a little, then hey, whatever works. Should be a fun ride to end the season.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – White motivated to stick around | Globe – Coach Doc Rivers not thrilled with how Celtics close out games | Hawks’ Josh Smith is talented, but is he a max-contract player? (Sunday Notes) | Herald – C’s work hard to be in zone | Dudley at loss about Skinner (Sunday Notes) | CSNNE – Green looks ahead to return to Oklahoma City | Hawks: Rondo didn’t show signs of injury | Josh Smith talks trade rumors, Rondo | Rivers not surprised by success without Rondo | Celtics bench continues to save season | MWDN – Courtside View: Unpredictability an asset for Celtics | WEEI – All about heart: A look at Jeff Green’s remarkable comeback