The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Then, Pierce drove again as Garnett screened Gay. As the Grizzlies committed to Pierce, he attempted to pass back to Garnett. Instead, the ball ended up with Allen. ‘We improvised a little bit,’ Allen said. ‘Kevin was wide open. Paul was trying to probe and see how much they wanted to help. Rudy’s long and tall, and he got his hands on the ball. I was just trying to keep my feet active. I ended up just following the ball and the ball fell in my hands. I looked down at the other end and I saw it was like four seconds and I looked up and it was like ‘3.’ And I said this has got to go up.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “Rondo’s jumper with 2:47 remaining put Boston out front 103-95, but Memphis quickly made it a one-possession game, striking for three buckets in little more than a minute.
That’s when the Big Three took over. Pierce and Garnett ran a familiar pick-and-pop, leading to a 21-foot jumper by Garnett with 1:20 to play. Marc Gasol answered with a pair of free throws when Perkins fouled out, but Pierce made a driving layup on the Celtics’ next possession to push the lead back to four. O.J. Mayo hit a long jumper to make it 107-105 with 42 ticks left, setting up Allen’s heroics. Pierce and Garnett tried to run the same play at the top of the key, but Rudy Gay deflected the pass. Allen scrambled to get the loose ball, then pulled up from well beyond the 3-point arc and drilled a straightaway bomb for the final spread.”
Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal – “Allen’s basket — one of 10 for the Celtics from beyond the arc — came as the shot clock expired and accounted for the final score. The basket also fell good after it appeared the Griz would earn a much-needed stop. Griz leading scorer Rudy Gay disrupted the Celtics’ pick-and-roll when he tapped away Paul Pierce’s pass intended for Kevin Garnett. Instead of the Griz coming away with a stop, the basketball fell to Allen for the dagger. ‘We played outstanding basketball, and they just beat us,’ Hollins said. ‘Sometimes that happens. When you play well, you can live with getting beat.’”
Me, Celtics Town – “Early in the second quarter, Tommy Heinsohn said, ‘They… their defense is porous, man.’ He was talking about the Grizzlies of course, but he could have been talking about either team on this night. The C’s couldn’t get stops, and it wasn’t that Memphis was playing good team basketball. They were simply making one-on-one forays to the hoop. I can’t really describe how Memphis played, besides saying it was ‘selfishly unselfish.’ It wasn’t like any member of the Grizzlies took a ton of shots. Their four top scorers (Rudy Gay, Mayo, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol) all took between 12 and 17 shots. If you were to look at the boxscore, you’d probably think they played great team basketball, and shared it nicely. But it wasn’t that; It was more like the Grizzlies took turns being selfish. One play, they’d clear it out and let Mayo go to work. The next, it was Gay’s turn. Then Randolph’s, and on and on. There wasn’t a lot of ball movement, and the Grizz only had 5 assists in the final three quarters, but their offense was nonetheless effective.”
Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub – “But Rudy Gay got a hand on the ball, knocking it into no-man’s land behind the three-point line. And there was Ray, fresh off sitting nearly 7:00 on the bench in the 4th, in the right position to retrieve the ball, take two dribbles and launch a three from the top of the key—while falling to his left as the shot clock expired. Swish. Game over. Big plays. All night. On both ends, whenever the Grizzlies threatened. That was the theme of the night. (That and the continued development of Rajon Rondo, which makes me giddier than anything has as a sports fan since maybe sometime in the fall of 2004). The Grizzlies were good and the C’s were a step behind their usual brilliance on D, but they still found a way to win—without overplaying the starters.”
Matthew Noe, 3 Shades of Blue – “In the grand scheme of things, one shouldn’t be all that surprised by the outcome of this game-the Celtics are, after all, infinitely more experienced with games going down to the wire than are the young Grizzlies. But as the esteemed Eric Hasseltine said immediately after the game on the radio broadcast, if you’re a Grizzlies fan and you’re not proud of the way the team played tonight, you need to check your pulse and look in the mirror. Well said, Eric, well said. I can dig that. There were a zillion reasons why everyone in the FedEx Forum got their money’s worth tonight….but I would have gotten just a bit more value out of the deal if the Griz could have pulled this one out…”
Straight Outta Vancouver – “And while they might not be rising quite as fast as a couple weeks ago, the Memphis Grizzlies are showing a hell of a lot more resilience than anyone expected from this team. This recent run has seen the Grizzlies playing the Mavericks, Cavaliers, Thunder, Heat, and Celtics. That’s quite the spread right there. I don’t want to take anything away from the Celtics, because that’s not my point. It takes an enormous change in team culture for the Memphis Grizzlies that most people remember as the Memphis Grizzlies to come out on the second night of a traveling back-to-back and play a full-strength, reloaded championship squad down to the wire.”