BOSTON – Game ball’s gotta go to Paul Pierce. No question about it. One minute he’s looking like he’s done for the series, being taken off the court in a fireman’s carry, next minute he’s emerging from the tunnel Willis Reed style and whipping the fans into a frenzy, next minute he’s knocking down 3-pointers to spark his team to a game-winning run.
When “The Truth” went down, it looked bad. Really bad.
Doc Rivers said, “Honestly, I thought the worst. I’ve had the injury before, I’ve seen it before. I thought the worst.”
Pierce himself said, “I thought that was it. I mean, I thought – a lot of things going through my mind. I thought I tore something. Once I heard the pop, and I couldn’t move it at first. I thought that was it.”
But a short time later, Pierce came back out. It’s the finals. He’d waited 10 years for this. He wasn’t sitting.
“It’s been a long wait,” Doc said of what got Pierce back out on the floor. “I don’t think he wants to get here and then sit on the sidelines.”
Pierce came up to the scorers table and was ready to go back into the game before Rivers even knew he was out of the locker room. When he saw Pierce, Rivers held him up and looked around trying to find a trainer to make sure it was OK.
“He ran out to the scorer’s table and unless somebody tells me he can go in, I didn’t know if he just ran out. Disarray for a minute because I didn’t know if he should go out or not.”
The official word was that Pierce sprained his knee and strained a meniscus. Fortunately for the Celtics, he has two days to rest it before Sunday’s Game 2. Kendrick Perkins sprained his ankle and didn’t play in the fourth quarter and also will benefit from the rest.
The Lakers pointed to poor ball movement, poor rebounding and getting too comfortable as reasons for them blowing away their third-quarter lead and falling by 10 points.
L.A. Had 14 assists in the first half and seven in the second. They got outrebounded 46-33 and got outscored 21-15 in the final quarter.
Kobe: We got a little stagnant. I think our rhythm wasn’t there. Wasn’t what we like it to be. Still we played well enough to almost steal the game. Some balls bounced their way tonight. They scrapped and they clawed their way to this victory. They played a lot more physical than we did and I think that’s something we did to adjust to and get ready for Game 2.
Lamar Odom: Maybe too comfortable. We just didn’t do a good job of moving the ball in the second half. In this game, they played the right way just for a little bit longer than us. … That happens on the road when you’re playing against a really good team. We played well in the first half. If we came out in the second half and played the same way we did in the first half, we would have won the game. They played the right way, so it’s one-zip.
Fisher on bouncing back: Well, I think in order to win a series, you have to be flexible and you can’t have any preconceived notions about the way the series is going to go. If you get into your mind that you have to win this game or you have to win that game or you have to do this, I think it takes away from your ability to be in the moment during the game.
So, we have to obviously make some adjustments and make plans to win Game 2 from here. I don’t know if we really get too caught up in the final result in terms of losing the game as opposed to looking at some of the things that we can drastically improve in. I think one thing is just defending without fouling, particularly in the second half. There were a lot of possessions where instead of making them make a basket, we fould them and put them to the free-throw line and you can’t defend anybody at the free-throw line.