BOSTON MA - DECEMBER 08: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after drawing the foul in the second half against the Denver Nuggets on December 8 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Nuggets 105-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
So did Doc Rivers.
That's why when he found out that Carmelo Anthony wasn't playing in Wednesday night's game, he did something a little different.
He didn't tell them - not until he had to anyways. That way the Celtics couldn't get into relaxation mode early in the game like they did against the Thunder.
The C's responded by outscoring the Nuggets 35-21 in the first quarter. While the Nuggets clawed their way back into it, they never led at any point in the game.
"I think Coach really made a point of that," Paul Pierce said in reference to not letting up with Anthony out. "He really didn't want to tell us that Carmelo wasn't playing.
"I think he waited to the very last second because he went over the game plan. So we took that to heart and went out there and just tried to establish ourselves in the first quarter."
Without Anthony, the Nuggets were forced to look elsewhere for offense. JR Smith and Ty Lawson did the best they could off the bench tonight, dropping 16 and 24, respectively. Still, that wasn't enough against the C's, who were prepared for other players stepping up in Anthony's absence, unlike their one home loss of the season against the Thunder.
"We took it for granted last time with one of their star players not playing," Glen Davis said. "We didn't today. That's a sign of a growing team, a team that's growing and learning from their mistakes."
Because of the fact that Anthony wasn't suiting up, Pierce changed the way he did things on the defensive end, which in turn changed how his teammates did things.
"The difference with guarding Gary Forbes (Anthony's replacement) is that I become more of a roamer and more of a helper," Pierce said. "So you know the defensive scheme sort of changes with Carmelo out. Kevin's got to do less helping. Kevin becomes our defensive anchor."
Quis' Right Thumb
Midway through the second quarter, Nate Robinson pass the ball to Marquis Daniels in traffic. The pass was a little off, and when Daniels went to reach out for it, he caught his right thumb on another player.
As Quis' grimaced in pain, you could only have thoughts about last season, when he injured his left thumb and was never the same for the remainder of the season.
That doesn't seem to be the case this time around.
Daniels seemed in good spirits after the game, with no bandage or ice on the thumb. He did say that it swelled up a little bit, but he could bend it without too much pain.
Oh, and according to him, he'll still be able to play that new Call of Duty video game.
The starters did their job tonight building up a huge lead in the first quarter. It was the bench that seemed to have a lot of issues holding onto it. Whether it's a lack of communication, focus, or continuity, the bench has not played to the potential that it looks to have on paper thus far.
In time, these issues should clear up. Delonte West is reportedly ahead of schedule in his return from surgery on his broken wrist, and Jermaine O'Neal looks to be back sooner rather than later.
The real bridge between the starting unit and the bench is Glen Davis. Getting the most minutes with the starters out of everyone on the second unit, it's his job to bridge the gap between the two units and make sure there's an even transition.
Ray Allen noticed that the Nuggets were scoring the majority of their points during the rotation of units.
"When we get those leads we've got to make sure we stick to our principles," Allen said. "I talked a lot with Nate, Von, and those guys have got to come in and make sure that they keep the focus from when they're on the bench to when they come into the game."
Karl is a two-time cancer survivor, beating prostate cancer back in 2005, and now recovering from throat and neck cancer that he was diagnoses with last season.
Regardless, Garnett wanted to clear the air with Karl over that situation.
"I just went over, and I know some speculation, and I'm not going to get into it, you all know what I'm talking about. I went up to him as a man, and what I said is that I had nothing personal toward him or any other cancer patients that are out there struggling, dealing with life situation. I wanted to say that him, man to man."
Glen Davis was questionable for Wednesday night's game, fighting a stomach bug that prevented him from practicing with the team yesterday.
He did suit up for the game, scoring 16 points and grabbing six rebounds in 27 minutes.
Asked about his sickness, he didn't spare any details.
"A little fever, had a little fever," he said. "You know, diarrhea, vomiting - the good stuff. I took about four gallons of Big Baby Pedialyte. Big Baby for the babies."
Davis almost added "headache" to that list. He and Nuggets center Nene got into an altercation in the fourth quarter in which their heads got a little too close for comfort. Double-technical fouls were handed out.
"Just two guys physically playing hard," Davis said. "He was playing a little out of control, hit me with an elbow, I didn't like it, kind of got him off me, I just told him don't hit me with an elbow any more."