True to form, Celtics battle, prevail through adversity


True to form, Celtics battle, prevail through adversity

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics have gone through handfuls of injuries, watched four teammates get shut down for the season with surgeries, stuck together through trade rumors, pulled together after inconsistent stretches, and bounced back after blowing double-digits leads to win critical playoff games all in a lockout-shortened season.

This team has been tested --- by their opponents and by themselves -- and the culmination on Sunday night was a gritty Game 4 overtime win over the Miami Heat to tie the Eastern Conference Finals series at 2-2.

After leading by as many as 18 points, the Celtics surrendered their edge and let the Heat get back into the game in the fourth quarter. Enter overtime, when the Cs had to (once again) fight without their captain, Paul Pierce, who fouled out (as did LeBron James). Role players stepped up. The team buckled down on defense. When Dwyane Wade failed to hit the game-winning jumper as time expired, the Celtics had survived another edge-of-your-set win.

The Cs havent made any of their successes look easy this season, and they like it that way.

Were built for adversity, said Keyon Dooling following the Celtics 93-91 win. Weve gone through so much that our personality has taken on a resilient, grind-it-out-type team.

Now they move on to Game 5, where they will fight to play the spoiler in Miami. Neither home team has lost in this series, but the Celtics will have to strike first on the road if they want move on to the next round.

Theyre fatigued. Theyre injured. Theyre also focused and locked in.

It starts with our leadership, said Dooling. We have a bunch of gritty guys. Our superstars are gritty. They wear their hard hat every day and come to work. They set a tone and set a tempo for our whole team.

And they dont make excuses.

All that has to happen is, the game has to be won, said Rajon Rondo. We dont care what it looks like, we just want to win the game.

Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

Just when all the video tribute controversy between Isaiah Thomas and Paul Pierce seemed to be dying down, Jalen Rose heated it right back up.

Live on ESPN's "NBA Countdown," Rose called Pierce "petty" for his comments on the Celtics potentially holding a video tribute for Isaiah on Feb. 11 when Pierce gets his jersey retired.

Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce petty right to his face... 😳

A post shared by DIME on UPROXX (@dimemagazine) on

Thomas tweeted on Tuesday that he (again) declined the Celtics' offer to hold the tribute for him so it wouldn't interfere with Pierce's night. But if you look at the likes on the Instagram video above, posted by dimemagazine, you'll see Thomas appears to agree with Rose on the matter.

It doesn't look like the video tribute drama is going to end until the Feb. 11 matchup between the Celtics and Cavaliers is over with.

Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'


Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three Houston Rockets players entered the Los Angeles Clippers’ training room before being stopped by security but not before a profanity-laced exchange that’s sure to result in fines and possibly some suspensions.

Orlando’s Arron Afflalo threw a punch – and barely missed – hitting Minnesota’s Nemanja Bjelica which led to both players being ejected and for Afflalo will likely result in a suspension of some kind.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons got into it with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, resulting in both players being tossed and apparently leading to Simmons signaling to Lowry that they could continue having their “discussion” in the hallway.

That hallway encounter never happened (Lowry said he was there, Simmons said he didn’t see Lowry so you believe who you want to), but the fact that it was even a possibility speaks to this being one of the more bizarre weeks in recent memory when it comes to potential fighting in the league. 

And remember … it’s only freakin’ Wednesday!

I asked Boston’s Al Horford about this.

“It’s very, very bizarre,” said Horford, now in his 11th NBA season. “I don’t think I remember any period of time, (with) all this chippiness going on. You want to compete, you want to play hard; that’s fine. But all the extra stuff, I think needs to stop. At the end of the day you need to focus on basketball. We’re here to play.”

Horford added, “I’m sure the NBA will address those things and fix them.”

No one was shocked that things got a little testy in the Houston-Los Angeles Clippers game which was played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the first time Chris Paul, now with the Rockets, returned to Los Angeles to face his former team. 

The Clippers won 113-102, a game filled with trash talk from both sides. But apparently the chatter soon turned to chippy play with hard fouls delivered and taken in the latter stages of play with a total of five technical fouls called, two of which were on Blake Griffin which is an automatic ejection. 

Talking trash gone bad was a factor in the Simmons-Lowry bruhaha with the Sixers emerging with the victory. 

And on Tuesday, Afflalo and Bjelica had already been assessed a technical for an earlier run-in. Soon after, there was a collision between the two which pissed off Afflalo who swung with great force at Bjelica’s face. 

“We’re professionals,” Horford said. “We can’t get caught up in that stuff.”

Horford plays around the basket and is no stranger to banging around with the big, bad angry bodies. 

But as much as there will be times when he’ll want to snap, Horford has consistently resisted the urge. 

“It’s hard; it’s hard,” he said. “But we have to remember what we play the game for; I play to win. I’m playing for my teammates and sometimes you need to take a step back before you do something you regret. That’s the way I look at it.”