From inside the three-point arc, that is.
Behind the line, Pierce was a perfect six for six, tying a Celtics record held by Danny Ainge and Walter McCarty for most made three-pointers without a miss. (I wonder how many times Tommy Heinsohn said, “I looove Wallltttahhhh” during that game… Thirty? Forty? Could my estimate even be low?)
Pierce was but one shining light in a game full of Celtics studs. Rajon Rondo returned to form after a game of careless ball-handling against Philly, Kendrick Perkins continued his stellar play, and Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were both solid. Even Tony Allen came off the bench and played some great minutes. (Side note: Is it going to get to a point where I’m going to have to stop qualifying it whenever Tony Allen plays well? Will I ever stop writing “even” before Tony’s name when I discuss something he did positively? I hate to say it — actually, as someone with the C’s best interests at heart, I love to say it — but he’s getting nearer to that point every game. Tony Allen is playing good basketball. And I didn’t even qualify that statement with another one like, “…but I know, as every Celtics fan knows, that he’s due for a huge implosion sometime soon.” For the first time in years, Tony Allen is building our faith in his game. I’m almost starting to enjoy this. Don’t let me down, Tone.)
If you wondered how the Celtics were going to respond to their first loss in a long while, a humbling one to the lowly Sixers, you needed to watch only the opening stanza to get your answer: With fire.
By the end of the first quarter, the only question left to answer was whether Rasheed Wallace would get at least one technical foul. (The answer, if only for tonight… no.)
(Another side note: Rasheed showed no remorse for getting kicked out of Friday night’s game: “If [the referees are] standing right near our huddle trying to stick their ear or nose in there, then yeah, they’re going to hear some stuff. That’s exactly what it was. When have you ever seen somebody – a ref – standing over there that close to our bench during a timeout? You already know what it is. I ain’t tripping.”
Sheed also said simply getting thrown out of a game isn’t going to change him. “I’ll still play my game. I’ll still be me. I ain’t changing my game for nobody. I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.”
In other news, my girlfriend overheard a conversation between me and my buddies, during which I said some very demeaning things about her. I told her if she’s trying to listen to the boys, she’s “going to hear some stuff. That’s exactly what it was. When have you ever seen somebody – a girlfriend – standing over there that close to the boys during guy talk?” Now, she knows what it is, and that I ain’t tripping. I’ll still be me, whether she likes it or not. I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.
In other, other news, I was subsequently dumped.)
Back to the game: Even when the T-Wolves cut the lead to 12 points in the fourth quarter, the game was never in doubt. All Doc Rivers had to do was call a couple starters back into the game and, voila, the lead once again ballooned. No big deal, crisis averted.
The first half was a symphony of beautiful basketball. The C’s were getting stops, pushing the ball in transition, and hitting shots. They were moving the basketball, being aggressive, and everybody was playing well.
The second half was a letdown, but it’s only human nature to take your foot off the gas a little bit after being ahead by 25 points at halftime. I’m not going to get worried because they let a big lead be cut to 12; I’ve got better things to worry about, like the bag of popcorn I burned tonight. Burnt popcorn tastes terrible.
But winning basketball games by 18 points doesn’t. That tastes good. I don’t care if it’s against the Minnesota Timberwolves or an 11-and-under girls AAU team, winning a game by that much is for the better. So I’ll let other people complain about a lackadaisical second half; I’ll just relish in the beauty of the first.
I’ll wait to complain until something worse happens…
Like if Paul Pierce ever misses a three-pointer.
Did I miss anything? As always, yes…
- Where will Paul Pierce rank among Celtics Hall-of-Famers?
- ‘Sheed says the Celtics could challenge Bulls’ record… could they?
- Austin Rivers, Doc’s son, almost beat Paul Pierce in a one-on-one game
- Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce named to SI’s All-Decade team
- Rajon Rondo contract extension sets Celtics up nicely for the future