The Knicks were looking for an early knockout and, in taking an 11-0 lead, they looked as if they might get it. Pierce missed his first six shots. KG missed both of his in the first quarter.
"We took the punch," Pierce said. "We did a great job of withstanding."
It would be the Celtics who ended up hitting 11-for-22 on threes. It would be the Knicks who ended up hitting only 5-for-22 on threes. After a hot start, Carmelo Anthony would hit only three of his final 17 shots from the field.
Rivers said it was a matter of trust for his team.
"We were due. We're not a bad three-point shooting team," Doc said. "I kept telling our guys, 'When you get them, take them. Do not hesitate.' I got upset early in the half with a couple of guys. I thought we were a little hesitant. I said just let it fly. Do not hesitate. If it's contested, move it. If it's not contested, shoot. I thought our guys did a pretty good job of it."
"It was what we were talking about before the game and the thing we were most disappointed in that we were taking advantage of their traps. Tonight we did. That's why we got the threes. That's why Brandon Bass got the easy baskets. You've got to trust each other. That's the first game in this series that we had complete trust and the ball found the open guy."
Woodson, however, was less much less concerned about his defense than his offense.
"J.R. missed shots, but he took some tough ones, too," Woodson said. "He got some free shots at the end that he made. But it was a struggle pretty much the whole game. We've got to get him in position where we're not struggling."
Steve Novak's back was bothering him so he couldn't return to spell Smith.
"Offensively, we were searching," Woodson said. "We're just not getting into our offense quick enough. We're laboring. Our pace has to pick up."
And then he took a deep breath.
"Nobody said it was going to be easy," Woodson said. "Now it's a series. Now we've got to find out what we're made of."
Garnett agreed with that much: "There was no tomorrow for us. Period. Point blank."
Anthony, who has had shoulder problems, made a deal of Garnett's tugging on his arm in the second half. In the first half, KG took a dive and tried to get a flagrant foul. The officials consulted the video replay and decided it wasn't. After the final buzzer, the Celtics' Jordan Crawford exchanged words with Raymond Felton and Anthony. Rivers pulled his guys away. Yeah, it's getting a little hot, a little intense.
"Just words," Felton said.
And chances are "no funeral tonight" might have been three of them.