Good for the Celtics for being able to take down the Heat for a third time this season. I'll be honest - with the collapse against the Lakers on Thursday, the recent play of the Heat, and the injuries the C's are dealing with, I didn't think it was possible.
Can you blame me?
And if I heard ahead of time that Paul Pierce would go 0-10 in the game, I'm probably betting a big chunk of money on the Heat.
But with all that adversity, the Celtics found a way to prevail.
"It was obviously a huge win for us, with all the stuff we have going on," Doc Rivers said. "You know, you think about the injuries; you know Nate (Robinson) had said he wasn't going to play right literally five minutes before the game, and then came up and said he wanted to give it a go. Paul (Pierce) said he felt awful. And so, you know, we literally were thinking at one point, ‘We're not going to have enough bodies to play this game.' And to gut it out was great. "
The key words there, "one point", as in the total amount of points scored by Pierce tonight.
"We struggled offensively so that's where we hang our hat in that's pretty much all I could do today was on the defensive end just trying to slide my feet," Pierce said. "But hey, me playing the way I did and us coming out with the win I mean this is a big win for us. We got one more game before the break, hopefully we get some of these little injuries out of the way and get well and get healthy and continue to roll."
It was certainly a big win especially with the way Pierce played, but it's the "little injuries" I'm really concerned about - the latest of them coming from Pierce.
"It was tough, you know right now, just battling a couple minor injuries to my hand and my foot," Pierce said. "So I think that really explains my tentativeness and my off-shooting today. I told Doc that I really didn't have it today but I just tried to grind it out, and thank goodness we came out with a win."
In Doc Rivers' postgame press conference, he mentioned the fact that Pierce said he felt "awful". At the time, I chalked it up to reports of Pierce having flu-like symptoms. After the game, Pierce said he didn't feel sick at all. So what was all that "awful" talk? Could Pierce have been talking about his left foot and/or hand?
He's been dealing with a left foot injury for what he claims to be a couple weeks, and the sprained hand occurred yesterday in practice. It was hit during the game today and obviously had an effect on his game.
Pierce will get an MRI on the left foot tomorrow, as all of Boston holds their breath. It doesn't appear that, at least at this stage, the injury is too serious. But with the lack of depth already at the SF position, there aren't a lot of opportunities for Pierce to rest it.
He played 40 minutes against the Heat on a bad foot and a sprained hand - that's certainly not an ideal situation if you're the Celtics.
Credit Rajon Rondo for the main reason behind the win. He sparked the team with his defense on LeBron James, leading to the Celtics' 20-3 run to start the third quarter. But you can't expect Rondo to guard every SF that comes his way. And you can't expect Von Wafer to either, although I loved his effort tonight. Delonte West can give it his best shot, but we all know he's a shooter and belongs at the shooting guard position.
Glen Davis? He played great off of the bench tonight, but that didn't come from the small forward position, it came from the power forward and center position - where he belongs.
The Celtics have been able to keep their head above water even through the injuries because Pierce and Ray Allen have remained healthy. As it stood before the game, their best six players were all healthy - but that could change with Pierce, as we come to find out.
And what does this mean as far as his All-Star game availability? As much as I'd like to see Pierce in the game and defending his three-point crown, I don't want to see it at the risk of making the injury worse. If anything, he could use this time to heal those injuries.
My final question: What have the Celtics done to anger the basketball gods so much? Best answer wins a spot on the Celtics' roster - but know that this year by putting on the jersey you're sacrificing your health.