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Ball Don't Lie

The Celtics beat the Warriors with a possible joke about the Knicks

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics share a laugh. (Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics used a nice, clean, simple pick-and-pop action late in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. I wrote about the play, which Kevin Garnett finished by nailing a wide-open long-range jumper, yesterday as sort of a shout-out to the late-game execution and precision that have become Boston's calling cards in the Garnett/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen era.

ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg asked Garnett, Pierce and Doc Rivers about the play, which Pierce says they've "run millions of times" and worked like a charm on Wednesday (albeit a little late in the shot clock for Rivers' taste). Turns out the C's have a pet name for it.

After the game, Garnett noted, "Whatever you want to call it. A simple play, kept it very simple. Paul had the one-on-one, he cut it off, came to me. We call it the Madison Square Garden."

Why MSG?

Maybe it has to do with all the game-winners Boston has produced there, including the same KG pick-and-pop with Pierce back in 2009.

Zing!

Garnett didn't clarify for Forsberg, so the possibility exists that he is wrong. Maybe they call it that because Pierce and Garnett's numbers are 34 and 5, and they incorrectly think that the Garden is located at the corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Maybe they call it that because the Garden cost about $1.1 billion in 2011 dollars to build and renovate, which is right around what Pierce and Garnett have combined to earn in their NBA careers. Maybe, like the Garden, the play was designed by vaunted structural engineer Fred Severud.

These are all very real possibilities, obviously, but it's more likely that Forsberg is right and that the play is named after a place where they used it to rip out the Knicks' hearts. Given the frequency with which they've done that over the years, frankly, it'd be more surprising if Boston didn't have a New York-centric name for everything in its playbook.

You know, real classic New York stuff. Ray Allen shooting an open wing three after Garnett trips the trailing defender could be called the "Stray Pitbulls Terrorizing Residents in Midwood and Borough Park," because that is a thing that really happened and is super New York-y. Plus, Paul Pierce hitting a contested fadeaway, over and over again, could be called "A Whole Lot of Cursing and Spitting on the Street." That's what it always leads to anyway, so why not call it that?

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