Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 4/20/13
Jeff Green was busy carrying the Celtics, lifting them into the lead after three quarters at Madison Square Garden, when Paul Pierce jumped in, grabbed the mic and performed the basketball-playing equivalent of a Kanye West impersonation. “Imma let you finish, but …” Only Pierce, like West, never did let Green finish. (Yes, in this scenario, Green is Taylor Swift. Nobody ever said this was a perfect analogy. Get over it.) With Green taking just one shot in the fourth quarter, Pierce and the rest of the Celtics seemingly forgot to go back to the guy who had gotten them that far. As the Celtics faded down the stretch, they went to Green only once in the key closing possessions, leading to an 85-78 loss in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Knicks. Yes, the Celtics’ bench was a no-show, getting outscored by its New York counterpart 38-4. The Celtics’ eight fourth-quarter turnovers — which matched the number of points they scored in that frame — helped the Knicks overcome an 8-for-21 brickfest. And Carmelo Anthony sure was a handful with his 36 points, eight of which came in the final eight minutes. None of those factors might have come up, however, if the Celtics simply had made a concerted effort to go to the guy who had brought them that far. “I don’t think we lost our composure,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “I just think we lost our way as far as playing.” Green could have been more insistent about getting more than one iso opportunity against the mismatched Jason Kidd, but that was not entirely Green’s decision to make. The Celtics themselves love to put Pierce in their franchise’s pantheon, and part of being an all-time great is, as Pierce loves to say, “giving the game what it needs.” What the game needed on Saturday was more of Green. Instead, Pierce called for the ball with the Celtics trailing by three points on two of the most crucial crunch-time possessions. Pierce missed a 3-pointer and then committed a turnover as he and the Celtics went to the same hero-ball approach that had gotten Anthony into so much trouble early. Even with Green’s disappearing act, the 26-year-old forward finished the game with 26 points on 8-for-15 shooting, with seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Pierce had 21 points on 6-for-15 shooting with seven assists and six turnovers. Green was playing better, and if the Celtics were going to dedicate some of those late clear-outs to anybody, Green deserved more than one shot. At their best, the Celtics recognize those things. But Kevin Garnett was off the floor with five fouls and the Boston was unraveling on both ends. The Celtics’ offensive spacing was thrown off as Garnett, the team’s best passer in the absence of Rajon Rondo, watched from the bench. So while Pierce got a little greedy and Jason Terry misfired, Green mostly stood in the left corner, waiting for the ball to find him. Rivers thought the breakdown was technical, rather than emotional, but in the end it had the same result. Nobody would accuse Pierce, of all players, of losing his composure. But in the middle of a strong performance by Green, the Celtics’ captain misread the moment. Pierce tried to close out the win, as he has many times, when calling Green’s number a few more times might have been all that was needed. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Andrew Luck: Reggie Wayne is not a traitor

LeBron: You don’t have to win championship to be great team

‘Concussion’ director: No compromises made for NFL

Kevin Sumlin: Texas A&M players have 'chip on their shoulder'

WATCH: Elvis Andrus steals home against Padres

Seahawks went on Hawaiian vacation to ease SB tension


Robert Kraft: Deflategate 'most overblown story' in NFL

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Jim Tressel once sent touching note to family of Michigan OL

Sony cut 'Concussion' scenes to avoid angering NFL

Ryan Clark: Trent Richardson is 'worst RB of all time'

Report: David Feherty won't be back at CBS Sports

NFL training camp position battle review- how'd they do?

NFL finds a new way to create another prime-time event

Nick Kyrgios takes nap during match with Andy Murray

Harbaugh named starting QB but won't announce it

Ohio State downplays revenge talk ahead of Va. Tech rematch

WATCH: D-backs pitcher fails on quick pitch attempt

Ex-FSU WR Snoop Minnis trolls rival Florida in great way

Suspicous photo may lead to drug test for CC Sabathia

How the Houston Astros went from garbage to gold

Jack Eichel plans to move in with teammate Matt Moulson

Report: Bills GM 'went rogue’ in cutting Fred Jackson

Terrance Knighton irked by Redskins-Kardsashians comparison

Connor Cook on not being named Michigan State captain: 'It stinks'

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker