BOSTON -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics posted a 104-80 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night at the TD Garden :
The rundown (a quick look at the postgame headlines)
Jackson feels disrespected, Pierce downplays situation
Celtics captain Paul Pierce and Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson got into a bit of a dust-up early in the second half, which resulted in both players being assessed a technical foul when they needed to be separated.
The incident unfolded after Ray Allen fouled Jackson going to the basket with 7:31 to play in the third quarter. Pierce disagreed with the call and, according to Pierce, he simply voiced his opinion. Evidently, he did it in a manner that set off the volatile Jackson, who exchanged heated words with Pierce before approaching him near the foul line as he waited to shoot free throws. Referees quickly got between the two players.
"I respect them as a team, they’re a great team and they play hard, but when they get to a point where they get to disrespecting people, and it’s not about basketball, that’s where I have a problem," said Jackson. "Everybody knows me as a basketball player, but everybody knows me off the court too. So if it’s about basketball, I’m cool, I respect everybody on their team, and I respect them as being a good team. But when it gets to the point where you’re disrespecting [me] as a man, that’s another problem.
"Certain things were said, quotes by certain people, and there’s no need for me to drop names, they know what was said. Me personally, I can take getting beat, if it's about basketball. But when it gets to the point where you’re being personal, and being disrespectful as a man to another man, that’s when I have a problem. The person I’m talking about, he knows it because I said what I had to say to him.
"It turned disrespectful when certain things were said. You can be emotional, talk to your teammates, and do all that, but when it's getting personal and you’re directing certain things to people as far as their manhood, that’s when a problem comes up. And I guarantee you, if I wasn’t in this gym, that wouldn’t have been said to me."
Pierce tried to downplay the situation after the game.
"I don’t know how it started," said Pierce (see video above). "No, I just thought that Ray was playing good [defense] on him. I didn’t think it was a foul on him and I was just saying, 'Good D, Ray.' You know how Stephen is, he is a fiery guy. That is just how he is. He is a competitor. I love to watch him play. It was just both of our competitiveness coming out. It was nothing more than that."
Doc's opinion: Third quarter was the key
The most encouraging aspect of Wednesday's win over the Bobcats? It might have been the Celtics' play to start the second half.
Despite trailing by as much as 17 in the first half, Charlotte rallied within a point late in the second quarter. Boston pushed its lead back to nine at halftime, but no single- or double-digit lead has been safe with the Green this season, particularly at the Garden.
But midway through the third quarter, the Celtics motored away, leaning on Pierce, who scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the period, while stretching their advantage as high as 22 with four minutes to play.
“Teams are going to make runs," said Rivers. "In the first half, you can be up 15 or 20 -- all you have to do is watch every NBA game. Teams make runs and then hopefully you respond and make another run. And basically that’s what we did today. We responded and made another run. Then once we got up the second time, we maintained it.
"I thought the key was the third quarter. We came out and extended the lead and I think that’s when you take away games -- when you’re up 10 at halftime and you get it to 20. Or you’re up 10 at halftime and they come back and cut it to one or two. That’s where the games are in the balance more. The first half is ebbs and flows, and they always will be. That won’t ever change.”
Boston's hallmark during the championship season of 2007-08 was pulling away in the third quarter and resting its starters in the fourth. That's what happened Wednesday night, which led to the first appearance in nearly three months of Gino, the American Bandstand dancer whose silky moves have become a victory cigar of sorts for the Celtics.
"Gino had so much dust on him, I think everyone was sneezing," joked Kevin Garnett, who stood shoulder to shoulder with Rasheed Wallace laughing at the clip. "But it was definitely good to see some Gino highlights. We'll try to get a couple more, you know."
Outsider's perspective: Brown thinks C's will be fine
In case you were wondering how those outside of Boston view the team's recent struggles, Charlotte coach Larry Brown doesn't seem to think there's any reason to panic. Then again, his team lost three meetings this season by a combined total of 75 points, so he might not be the best judge. Even still, he heaped praise on the Celtics.
"They buried us two games. I don’t buy all this stuff that they’re in trouble," said Brown. "They’ve had some injuries. They’re just starting to get healthy. They've got some new players like [Marquis] Daniels and Nate [Robinson] now, Rasheed [Wallace]. They’re going to be fine. They've got a great coach, they've got great chemistry. I think everybody has bad periods, but when you put the injuries they've faced, all that’s done is develop depth. So they’re going to be all right. They play like this -- this is the way Paul Pierce plays -- Garnett was phenomenal. But I just like all the little pieces they have because I think [Danny Ainge has] done a tremendous job putting them in a position where they can play with just about anybody."
Even Jackson couldn't help but praise the team.
"Winning by 30 is definitely a way to show that you have a lot to prove," said Jackson. "They’re trying to get back to being a championship-caliber team, and they played like it tonight."