|Irish Coffee: Playoff bloggers Kevin Garnett & Landry Fields||04.18.11 at 11:38 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
After writing prior to his team’s Game 1 matchup against the Knicks, the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett posted another entry to his Anta blog following the 87-85 first-round victory. Here are the highlights …
Game was up and down. Emotional roller coaster. … We got down early and at the half was down . We don’t quit and we grinded all game. Had to bring my “hard hat” to work today and just kept grinding. Down three with less then 40 seconds left in the game, coach [Doc Rivers] ran the fake cut to the alley-oop to me. [Rajon] Rondo made a hell of a pass! …
Down still 1, P2 [Paul Pierce] played some great defense and then it set up for a play where I NEEDED TO get Ray [Allen] open. RAY RAY hit the big shot … a 3 no less. … We did what we were supposed to (win at home), but still felt good to come back and lock up the win.
Game 2 on Tuesday. Sometimes, I get too hyped and move too quickly. Feel it best to relax and get into my game. JO [Jermaine O'Neal] really stepped up and I felt as though the flow was better for him.
Garnett shot just 5-of-14 from the field for 15 points, but he grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out three assists and swiped three steals. While Dwight Howard reportedly captured the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year honor, Garnett is expected to make the All-Defense First Team, and he finally locked Amar’e Stoudemire down in the final two minutes of the victory.
Meanwhile, Knicks starting shooting guard Landry Fields contributed to his ongoing playoff blog for the New York Post. Here’s what he had to say …
You definitely feel pretty good when Toney Douglas hits that shot. Then you start to think, “OK, it’s Boston.”
They don’t die. They play well. They’ve been around. They’ve got the experience.
This loss was very difficult. Boston’s a team like that — they don’t die. We had some key plays down the stretch we needed to make but didn’t. Hopefully next game we can clean that up. The locker room afterwards was pretty tough, but we can’t hang our heads right now. We’ve got another game [Tuesday]. We’ve got to prepare well [Monday].
After the game, Coach [Mike D'Antoni] just said, “Don’t get too low. It’s a long series. They’ve got to win three more.”
We’ll be all right. …
I think it’s very important for us to win one of the first two in Boston. I think a win would get our confidence up. Taking it back home, the energy, the kind of crowd we’ll have back at MSG will pump us up even more. So I think it’s very important to get this second game here.
I definitely feel confident we can do that. I think we’ve been following the coaches’ plans real well. We prepared real well. So we’ve just got to go out there and execute.
Fields continued his recent struggles, missing all three of his shots and remaining scoreless in 19 minutes. He did play some solid defense on Allen in the first quarter but didn’t see the court in crunch time, when Allen nailed his game-winning 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play.
DOC RIVERS: ‘WE SHOWED OUR RESOLVE’
If you want to see how Rivers executed in the final minutes of Sunday night’s win, watch it here and read about it here. If you want to know what his team’s performance meant to the coach, Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski caught up with Rivers in the corridor following Game 1 …
“What I loved was that we showed our resolve,” Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. “We showed some toughness. And that’s been questioned – and maybe rightly so – when we made that trade of Perk. That’s been questioned a lot. …
“You just don’t know about yourself as a team,” Rivers said in the corridor. “You know the human mind is, so you just never know. But I told our coaches before the series: ‘I really like our team, but we need to jump into this, though.’ The way this thing started for us, it may be good in the long run.”
In the same column, Jermaine O’Neal’s trainer, Tim Grover, provided some insight into the regimen that helped O’Neal become an unlikely hero in the playoff opener: “Every day for three weeks, two times a day. I had to slow him down. All he did was show up, listen and work hard.”
Sports Illustrated also covered Rivers’ realization during the 87-85 victory against the Knicks …
“Defensively we joined the playoffs in the second half. … At the end of the day, this is who we are, this is who we have. And we’re fine. We’re ready.”
NEW YORK: KNICKS BLEW IT
The overwhelming sentiment from the New York media following the Knicks’ Game 1 loss was that D’Antoni, Carmelo Anthony & Co. blew a golden opportunity to steal a game in Boston. In fact, Mike Lupica called Anthony Marsh-Melo, and the New York Post dedicated space for “Anthony’s Nightmare.” And the team just might not recover from it, especially if Chauncey Billups‘ injury keeps him out of Game 2 and beyond.
- New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro: Very quickly, then, we have reached a crucible for the Knicks. There isn’t a soul in this city – or in any other city besides New York, for that matter – that doesn’t believe this as fact: The Knicks had their chance and blew it. They had their shot last night to take a blowtorch to the Celtics’ mystique and they fumbled away the final 37 seconds. That is conventional – if not consensus – wisdom.
- ESPNNewYork.com columnist Ian O’Connor: And then without warning, as if the Celtic ghosts conspired to rage against this attempted exorcism, Billups lost his balance, Mike D’Antoni and Carmelo Anthony lost their minds, and the Knicks lost the game and perhaps their season.
- New York Daily News columnist Frank Isola: For more than 47 minutes, the Knicks were the better team – only to implode at the worst possible time, thus giving an aging team new life. The plays Mike D’Antoni’s club didn’t make, Doc Rivers’ team did – culminating in Ray Allen’s game-winning 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining that lifted the Boston Celtics to a dramatic 87-85 Game 1 victory Sunday night.
- Newark Star-Ledger columnist Dave D’Alessandro: You say [Anthony]’s been in the postseason before, what else is there to be learned? Come to Boston and say that. This is a place where they take offensive stars, clip their wings with a childish cruelty, and then dispose of the carcasses of these fallen angels in some basement storage room. So it had to be with Melo: Maybe he’s had his postseason successes, but it’s been true since NBA time immemorial: Until you’ve made it in Boston, you haven’t made it. And as of today, he hasn’t made it in Boston.
The one positive member of the New York media might have been the Knicks’ version of Tommy Heinsohn, Hall of Famer Walt Frazier, who serves as color commentator for the MSG Network. Frazier, who won two titles with the Knicks in the 1970s, told the New York Daily News:
“Back then, the Celtics had been the dominant team,” Clyde said. “But they were on their way down and the Knicks were on their way up. And that’s kind of how I view it now. The Celtics are the older team, and the Knicks are the younger team. It could be that same changing of the guard.”
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