Paul Pierce wasn’t preoccupied with “what-ifs” heading into an elimination game Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. What if the Celtics lost? Could this be the last game in a Celtics uniform for the captain who is signed through next season.
“To be honest, I was calm,” Pierce said. “I had a certain calmness about the game today,” Pierce said after scoring a team-high 29 points in a 97-90 overtime win against the Knicks that kept the season alive and sent the series back to New York for Game 5 Wednesday night.
Pierce played nine seconds shy of 50 minutes on this day that his Celtics career might have ended. He didn’t want it to end like this, on his home court, blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead and missing a trademark iso shot that would’ve won the game in regulation.
“Yeah you know every game is tough in the playoffs,” Pierce said. “We had a sizable lead, but we understood that they could make a run. They’re a good team. But you know, we gotta limit their runs. We gotta be better, especially in the third quarter. That’s been our Achilles heel in this series, and so hopefully we can look to improve upon that in Game 5.”
Pride is a word that gets thrown around a lot but the Celtics showed a lot of it in the fourth quarter when the Knicks had already gotten back into the game and could sense the kill. But Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry rallied the troops.
“Yeah, there was a lot of pride,” Pierce said. “Us, as [leaders] of the team, we’ve got to instill it in these guys. You saw with the attitude before the game, we knew we were gonna come out with the force we did today, and it carried over into the game. And this crowd. You gotta give a hand to this crowd. They really gave us a boost. Everytime I look up there, you feel it, you see it, you hear it; there’s just so much pride when you look around, the banners, the crowd and everything going on with the Boston Celtics history.”
Still, Pierce knows full well that a repeat of the third quarter at all in Game 5 will mean the sudden and definitive end to the season.
“I think [fouls] really got them back into the game,” Piece said. “We fouled, sent them to the free throw line…you know we tried to put multiple guys on [Carmelo Anthony], different guys on [Raymond Felton], but when we play aggressive D like that, I thought we defended well for most of the night, into the third quarter. We just have to limit our fouls. For one, when we send them to the free throw line, it stops the clock and gives them points without the clock moving, and gives them a chance to get back into the game. So we gottta do a better job at limiting our fouls.
“We established our defense and we made shots today. I thought it really gave us confidence when we got out to the fast start because our offense has really been struggling. We’ve been getting good looks but we haven’t been knocking them down. I thought early, we really knocked down shots and gave us confidence, the defense was really good for the most part tonight, so hopefully this is something we can build on.”
Greg and Chris talk more offseason happenings with the Pats and their plans. They talk about some of the free agents toward the bottom of the list with Stevan Ridley and Dan Connolly. Price thinks that Connolly could end up back with the Pats and Ridley elsewhere (Cowboys?), but Greg thinks they both could be back. They also chat about the departure of VInce Wilfork and what he meant to the organization, the re-signing of McCourty and more.
The very first airing of the offseason edition of NFL Sunday gets underway with Greg and Chris delving into the free agency period and how the Pats made out. Of course they lost Revis to the Jets, but what else went on? Greg isn't over the loss of Revis yet and the guys discuss what went into that whole ordeal. Price is looking forward to the additions of Chandler and Cadet. They also get a call from Mike Petraglia and get his thoughts on the Pats offseason moves.
We talk to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about his column today which basically accuses the Patriots of sour grapes for asking the league to enforce their own rules against tampering.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase kick off this weeks show by talking to Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly about his biceps recovery, getting ready for the season and his NCAA brackets. They then talk about the Red Sox depth at closer with Koji Uehara questionable for the start of the season.
Scott calls from Spring Training to discuss the state of the Sox and Swihart madness going on as he gets the call to play today vs. the Phillies. He gets into the lack of major issues for this team, the starting staff, how the outfield is shaking out, if JBJ is finally coming around and more.
Jack Edwards of NESN joins Dale, Michael and Jerry. With 9 games left the Bruins don't have much if any margin of error, and Jack knows it.
DJ, Joe and Pete talk more playoff scenarios in hour 2 and if the Bruins can get in, they'll be a very dangerous team... to the point where DJ thinks teams would much rather face the Senators and are doing their best to oust the Bruins from the equation. It's become apparent now more than ever that Chiarelli probably needed to pull the trigger on a deal for a defenseman at the trade deadline. Also. Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun joins the boys to discuss the Hamburglar and the Senators and Bruins being neck-and-neck for a playoff spot.
With the Senators hot on the tail of the Bruins for a spot in the playoffs, Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun calls into Sunday Skate. He talks about "the Hamburglar" craze sweeping through the league as goalie Andrew Hammond has really stepped up for Ottawa. They discuss playoff chances, the fans' reaction in Ottawa and more.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Darrelle Revis' comments on his contract offer from the Patriots.
The guys opened the show by discussing the rumored profanity laced tirade by Bill Belichick.
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the show to talk about the struggling Bruins, the play of Zdeno Chara, and the future of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York joined the show to talk about the ongoing tampering scandals between the Jets and the Patriots.
Christian does not impress the high school girls hockey team.
We discuss the annual joke that is the New York Jets, and their latest Jets-like move. Plus how on earth could you possibly choose to be a Jets fan.
We wrap up the day with some of the sound you may have missed.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin and College Hockey News’ Adam Wodon preview this year’s NCAA regionals and take a look at the chances for each of the Boston-area teams in the field. They also discuss BU’s Jack Eichel, Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey and the Hobey Baker Award.
Schefter joined us live from the owners meetings.More from this show