Let’s start with the obvious: The Celtics had no business winning this game. They shot 45 percent, missed 10 of 14 3-pointers, turned it over 18 times and clanged 11 free throws. Not that the Pistons were much better, but they were the ones with an eight-point lead and less than eight minutes to play.



PAUL FLANNERY

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Shaquille O'Neal said after Wednesday's escape over the Detroit Pistons that the Celtics have to work on their killer instinct. The Celtics trailed 75-67 when Ben Gordon hit a 3-pointer with 7:52 left in the fourth quarter. O'Neal then fired up the team with an alley-oop dunk from Rajon Rondo and a lay-up as part of 6-0 run to get the Celtics back in the game. 

 

Ray Allen is a future hall-of-famer so when shots aren't falling he doesn't panic. After drilling the game-winning jumper with 24.5 seconds remaining in an 86-82 win over the Pistons, he said that approach helped him again Wednesday night when he missed two fourth-quarter free throws and was just 1-for-7 before hitting the decisive jumper. 

 

Ray Allen hit a fall-away jumper with 24.5 seconds remaining to lift the Celtics to a 86-82 win over the Pistons Wednesday night at TD Garden. Shaquille O'Neal led a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, grabbing a season-high 12 rebounds while scoring 12 in 25 minutes as the Celtics erased an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit and improved to a Eastern Conference-best 32-9. Allen finished was just 1-for-7 with five points before his go-ahead jumper while Paul Pierce finished with a game-high 22. 

 

The Celtics announced during their game with the Pistons that Jermaine O'Neal will put off having knee surgery and will instead undergo four weeks of rehab to strengthen the area around the knee. Surgery could have kept him out for two months or more and likely would have ended his season. By delaying surgery, which he needs, O'Neal is hoping to be back in time to contribute during the playoffs.

 

Two different comments about the Celtics have made the rounds today. One complimentary, and the other not so much. Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith questioned the Celtics tough reputation by telling the Orlando Sentinel, "They act tough. They're not really tough. They act tough." Asked about it before the Celtics game with the Pistons, Ray Allen responded, "It doesn't matter. We know who we are."

 

Celtics guard Delonte West had an X-Ray and met with a hand specialist eralier this week and is now cleared to do some basketball-related activities without the brace on his broken right wrist. West is working on improving strength and he can now handle and shoot the basketball, but he's not ready to begin catching it yet. He said that he thinks he is two to three weeks away from returning to practice.

 

Lakers coach Phil Jackson told ESPN Wednesday that he feels the Celtics -- and not the Miami Heat -- will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season.

 

 

The Orlando Sentinel executed a midseason Q&A session with the Magic’s version of Danny Ainge — president of basketball operations Otis Smith — and he essentially called the Celtics a bunch of fake tough guys. Here’s the exchange:

 

Sentinel: One could argue the Celtics are tough.

 

Smith: They act tough. They’re not really tough. They act tough.

 

All things considered, the Celtics have had an extremely successful first half of the season. They sit atop the Eastern Conference with a four-game edge in the loss-column on the Miami Heat (and three on the Lakers).



PAUL FLANNERY

BIO | ARCHIVE | GREEN STREET BLOG