<
>

Snapshot: Birthday for a Big 3

10/13/2010

Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston

The birthday cake found in the Celtics' locker room after a win over the Knicks.NEW YORK -- Even when they weren't teammates, Jermaine O'Neal and Paul Pierce used to huddle near their properties in either Los Angeles or Las Vegas each offseason to hold a joint "summer birthday" party, knowing both players would be knee-deep in training camp by the actual celebration day of Oct. 13.

"We always did it before we went to camp, right before we went away at the end of September," explained O'Neal. "We did it like that for three or four straight years."

But now as teammates, O'Neal and Pierce -- along with coach Doc Rivers -- get to celebrate their birthday together. After Wednesday's 104-101 triumph over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the Celtics retreated to their locker room where the cake pictured above awaited and rookies were forced to sing "Happy Birthday" to the celebrating trio.

"Tonight we'll have a nice team dinner, maybe exchange some stories, and go from there," said O'Neal.

Pierce, who hit the winning jumper with 8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter joked afterward, "So basically I've got an 11 o'clock reservation that I didn't want to cancel because it's my birthday."

Soon after he burst out the doors of the Garden, leaving rookie Luke Harangody to swoop up the cake and bring it to dinner.