BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted the 25-foot, step-back 3-pointer that Rajon Rondo hoisted at the end of the fourth quarter wasn't the ideal look Boston wanted with a chance to top the Wizards in regulation on Wednesday evening.
Rondo's bomb found the side of the rim and forced an extra session, where the Celtics emerged with a 100-94 triumph at TD Garden.
Rondo's 20-foot fadeaway jumper with 26 seconds to play proved to be a crucial bucket, but the Celtics were looking for Pierce on the elbow or Jason Terry on a flare to the corner, not Rondo's late-clock heave.
"The one that I called was the [isolation with 26 seconds], I wanted a 2-for-1," said Rivers. "I told him -- that was a bad execution too because he got forced to the sideline and that way he couldn’t go as quick as we wanted him to go. But I think it was 34 seconds, or whatever, so we felt like ‘Let’s go 2-for-1 here’ and it was a quick iso for him. And I told him to shoot it quick, the first one.
"The second one, it was bad execution again, honestly. It was a pin-down for Paul, [or] it was supposed to be. Paul, we wanted at the elbow and he was there, I thought Rondo could’ve thrown it to him, then JET [Terry] was coming off the weak side. I thought Rondo made up his mind to go for it. I’m fine with that, but I didn’t like the execution.”
Terry set a screen that forced the Wizards to switch rookie Bradley Beal onto Pierce, but Pierce didn't have much room as he tried to set up shop at his preferred spot on the right elbow. Terry got a screen from Garnett on the low blocks trying to flare to the wing, but with the clock low, Rondo elected for the 3-point shot.
Rondo spoke briefly with reporters before departing the Garden, but said only of the team's overall execution: "We played OK. We got stops when we needed to. Overall, it's all about the win and that's what we did tonight."
Read on for notes about KG's DVR analogy, JET's first flight, and Rivers' thoughts on former draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore:
--KG: SEASON IS LIKE ON-DEMAND PROGRAMMING--
Garnett is no stranger to eclectic and sometimes off-the-wall analogies while trying to put the Celtics' season in context. Which led to a bit of hilarity after Wednesday's game as he tried to compare chemistry to the remote control options during on-demand programming.
"You can’t speed chemistry up. I think the more you practice, the more you get familiar with each other, there’s no hitting the fast-forward button here," said Garnett. "You've got Comcast, right? You know there’s some shows you can’t fast-forward through, you just gotta let it go so you can watch the silly-[expletive] commercials. That's what this is."
Garnett realized that Comcast is a broadcast partner of the Celtics and he might be throwing them under the bus a little bit, but that didn't stop him from having some more fun.
"Did I just take a shot at Comcast? [Expletive] it, I did. So what? I’m more of a DirecTV guy anyway. This is what this is. I’m not helping myself, right? [Expletive] it. Anyway, that’s what this is. I just totally messed that up. It’s one of those things where it’s just gotta take its course and you can’t speed anything up. Next question."
--JET'S FIRST TAKEOFF--
Struggling out of the gates at the start of the 2012-13 season, newcomer Terry put together his finest effort in a Celtics uniform on Wednesday, chipping in 16 points over 32 minutes. He played some inspired defense as well, allowing Boston to keep him on the floor in crucial stretches.
After one fourth-quarter bucket, Terry unleashed his trademark plane-like celebration, spreading out his arms as he ran back on defense.
"[The fans have] been begging for it, man, and I was finally able to give it to them tonight," said Terry. "The JET doesn't just come out for nothing. I mean, we're losing, you won't see no runway, none of that. But we needed a spark, we needed some energy, and the fans responded well to it. So hopefully we can keep flying here on Friday night against the Sixers."
--DOC'S ROOTING FOR JOHNSON--
JaJuan Johnson, Boston's first-round selection in the 2011 draft, was selected No. 1 by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants during the NBA Development League draft last week. Johnson, traded to Houston as part of the package that brought back Courtney Lee this summer, was waived after the Rockets acquired James Harden from Oklahoma City before the start of the season.
Rivers still believes Johnson can be an NBA player.
"I know he has the talent, I’ll put it that way," said Rivers. "I told him that this summer. He’s going to either have to pull it out of himself, or it’ll be there. But I do believe that he has NBA talent. And I hope he makes it."
E'Twaun Moore, Johnson's Purdue teammate who was selected by the Celtics in the second round of the same NBA draft in 2011, was likewise acquired by the Rockets and waived with a roster logjam this summer. He eventually landed in Orlando, where he's now the starting shooting guard on a young team.
"E'Twaun, on the other hand, is playing unbelievable, and he was ahead of JaJuan last year, and has nothing to do with individual talent, it had to do with mental makeup," said Rivers. "E'Twaun’s a smart kid, he gets it, and JaJuan is young, he has to figure it out."
The Celtics were tagged with a delay-of-game violation for not being ready for the opening tip after the 90-second runoff. Garnett was still chest-pumping away and Boston got the (somewhat harmless) violation that the league is cracking down on this year to speed up the start of games. ... Garnett picked up a real technical foul after a small flareup with Kevin Seraphin after producing a fourth-quarter turnover. ... Rivers reflected on Jim Durham, the voice of NBA basketball on ESPN Radio, who passed away unexpectedly this week. Durham served as the radio voice of the Chicago Bulls and Rivers used to listen to his calls as a teenager. "I saw him opening night [in Miami]," said Rivers. "We did the interview that morning. To read that he’s passed, that’s just heartbreaking. A great man, he’s been around the game a long, long time. He made a lot of calls. Unfortunately, since he was with the Bulls, I wasn’t in any good ones [while playing for the Atlanta Hawks]."