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.”
Chris Price joins Chris Villani to talk about the Patriots and Ravens upcoming Monday Night Football game and the rivalry between the two teams.
Patriots DB Devin McCourty tells Glenn, Lou, and Christian that Baltimore is always a tough matchup, he talks about how they don't fear playing at Gillette, and he's not concerned with the Reporters' question that seemed to irk Dont'a Hightower .
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe speak with ESPN's Trent Dilfer and look ahead to the match-up with his old team, the Baltimore Ravens.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about what the Celtics will need to do in order to be considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference along with the Cavs.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia talks with Josue Pavon about how the Celtics are looking better with Al Horford back on the court and the overall toughness of this team.
Sam Kennedy sits down with Mustard and Johnson to talk about the big off season for the Red Sox so far.
Trenni and Tomase sit down with John Farrell and talk to him about the trades and free agent signings that took place at the MLB winter meetings. They also talk about Pablo Sandoval, how his training is going in Florida and what to expect from him this upcoming year.
Dave Dombrowski joins Trenni and Tomase at Christmas at Fenway. They talked about the huge trade for Chris Sale, other off season moves and expectations for the upcoming season.
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Ken Laird and Rear Admiral talk about the Bruins week that was, featuring five more goals from David Pastrnak, a Thursday clunker, and the Saturday call-up of Danton Heinen with a prospect update from Mark Divver of the Providence Journal
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Mut ranks all 23 Dino Casting Couch members and Gary Tanguay posts another velfie on the Celtics and Kirk.
Mut defends himself in voting for Trump despite Alex Reimer's claim that he only voted for him because he goes along with whatever Gerry said. Damien Woody joins the guys for his second Friday interview.
Damien Woody praises Tom Brady's work ethic and thinks he can play three or four more seasons. Woody thinks Brady pushed the limits on Deflategate but it didn't play a role in the Patriots beating the Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship game.
No One is safe from OMF's Whiner Line.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian talk about Dont'a Hightower's forceful response to a question about the "Improving" Patriots Defense.
We check in with the playmaker for his weekly visit on the Dale, Holley and Keefe show.
Dale and Rich disagree again on this one... is LG a product of the system here or is he one of the NFL's best runningbacks?
Dale and Rich Keefe speak to Peter King about Patriots/Ravens and several other NFL topics.
Kirk Minihane, WEEI Podcast King, talks to the Podcast Godfather Adam Carolla about his new documentary about Le Mans, the backlash from the Election, and his time with Donald Trump on the Apprentice. The audio quality isn't great but the conversation is.
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Mike Mutnansky returned to his K&C family after a short hiatus, full of spirit and some hate, and impressed on a Patriots Friday showing. Ken Laird and Chris Curtis (with Intern Kyle) have the audio rundown
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