BOSTON -- It's tough to top a pre-game storyline of one team's President telling another team's GM to "shut the f--- up", but the Celtics gave it their best shot.
And they hit their shots, to the tune of a 118-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks Friday night at the TD Garden.
The win featured great production out of C's captain Paul Pierce, who finished with a triple-double, his third of the year -- 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists -- and forward Jeff Green, who continued his torrid February and March with 27 points on 11-20 shooting.
But it also featured production from players who have been spotty - or nonexistent - this season. Jason Terry had perhaps one of his best games of the season for Boston, virtually locked on from three-point line (5-7) for 24 points on the night.
And how about Shavlik Randolph pitching in? Randolph had arguably his best game of his career Friday night, coming in off the bench for Boston and adding the type of presence in the paint they lack without Kevin Garnett. Randolph finished with 9 points and 13 rebounds for Boston.
The Hawks were led by Mike Scott, who finished with 19 points off the bench. Josh Smith scored 18 points, but on 7-23 shooting, including 1-5 from beyond the arc. It's important to note that none of the Hawks starters played in the 4th quarter.
What they'll be saying: We've been talking about players stepping up in the absence of KG for a bit now. Jeff Green has answered the call on numerous occasions. But how about Randolph? Here's a guy the Celtics plucked from China, after a season overseas that looked like something out of a video game. But Randolph is in his sixth year with the NBA, playing just a handful of games in the latter stages of it. It's pretty safe to say that nobody thought he was going to contribute much down the stretch - and especially in the postseason - but it could be Randolph who works his way into the rotation at the expense of Chris Wilcox. Boston will see if he can match that intensity on Sunday against a Knicks team that hurt them on the glass last time around.