The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “The 13-17 Clippers outscored the visitors 6-0 in the last two minutes, but C’s coach Doc Rivers reached back further than the free throw line for the reasons behind the defeat. ‘The free throws didn’t bother me,’ Rivers said after his team’s nine-game road winning streak was snapped. ‘Obviously I’d have loved (Rondo) to make them, but that’s not why we lost this game. The free throws had nothing to do with that game. It was our composure and our execution and our focus. The (Eddie House) technical, leaving a guy behind the 3(-point line). I mean, we have a whole potpourri of mistakes that we made down the stretch, mental mistakes. Nothing that anyone did except for us. Like we talk about every night, the only opponent we have is ourselves, and tonight we beat ourselves. Even if we had won, we’d have felt bad about the game, honestly.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Ainge said he is pleased with the team’s 23-6 start, especially since it has yet to play with a fully healthy roster. ‘I like our team,’ he said. ‘I like the attitude of our team and the work ethic of our team. I like the chemistry of our team and so I’m very pleased where we are. I think there’s a level our team hasn’t reached yet that we’re capable of reaching and I’ve seen signs of that along the way that are very encouraging and we haven’t had our team full strength. I still anticipate that we will be at full strength very shortly, meaning where everybody is playing their best, not just having people on the court – it’s having people back on the court playing their best basketball. I think that that is a real possibility for us. I see that possibility in the near future and I am hopeful for it.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – A lot of teams missed the boat on Rajon Rondo in the 2006 draft, but the Clippers weren’t one of them. Unfortunately, they had traded their choice. The Suns took Rondo and dealt him to the Celtics that night. ‘On draft day, we tried like heck to get a first-round pick to get up and get him,’ said coach Mike Dunleavy, now also the general manager for Los Angeles. “We thought actually that Phoenix would take him because of the fit that he would make for their team. So we felt like we had to get up in front of 21. We tried like heck after 16 and down to try to get a pick to take him. Our guy really had him pegged right as far as how good he was. Obviously you knew he wasn’t a great outside shooter, but everything else he does is pretty terrific.’”
Lisa Dillman, LA Times – “‘Coach, run this play for me. I’m gonna shoot and we’re gonna win,’ Davis said he told Coach Mike Dunleavy. And what a wildly improbable story and finish. The Clippers scored five points in the final 8.5 seconds to defeat the Celtics, 92-90, the winning shot being a fadeaway jumper by Davis at the buzzer. It stopped Boston’s nine-game road winning streak, marking only the second Celtics loss on the road this season. This had echoes of the Clippers’ upset of the Celtics last season at Staples Center, a two-point victory in February. ‘You’ve got to prepare your mind for it when you’re getting ready to take a shot,’ Davis said. ‘I didn’t know what Coach was gonna draw. I made it known that I wanted to get the ball and if I got it with a second left, if I can get to my fadeway over [Rajon] Rondo, at least we’d be able to get a good look.’”
Associated Press – “Rondo scored 20 points in another impressive offensive game for the Celtics, but his free throw woes — he’s hovering near 53 percent for the season — cost the Celtics dearly. After drawing a foul from Davis, his two misses were actually three, including another shot that was waved off in between the two that counted. ‘I made it tough,’ Rondo said. ‘We just didn’t execute down the stretch. I felt confidence shooting them. I wasn’t antsy or nervous. I took my time and I kept my follow-through up. But the first one was just long, and the second one was long.’ Davis then had a Jimmy Chitwood moment, although his “Hoosiers”-style declaration didn’t surprise anybody in the Clippers’ huddle. ‘Baron said, ‘Coach, draw it up and I will make this,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. ‘He told us to give him the ball, so we draw up a play and it paid off.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “But the Celtics made enough mistakes against the Clippers to where they should not have even had a chance to steal a victory, which is exactly what they would have done if Rondo would have made one or both of those free throws. ‘We beat ourselves,’ said Celtics forward Glen Davis. ‘We gave the Clippers opportunities to make plays. We can look back at the game and pinpoint a lot of things we could have done. We look back at the game and look at the mistakes we did, it wasn’t Celtics basketball. When we play Celtics basketball, it’s hard to beat us. We didn’t, and the Clippers closed the game.’ Unlike some players who shy away from the media when they have a night like this, Rondo was the first Celtic to speak following the loss. ‘We just didn’t execute down the stretch,’ he said.”
Jessica Camerato, WEEI – “The reality is, these missed shots don’t say too much about whether or not Rondo is a clutch player because he is not a great free throw shooter to begin with. Rondo had only made 37 free throws heading into the game and was shooting 53.6% on the season. That’s just three more free throws made than Rasheed Wallace, who had taken 27 fewer attempts than Rondo. Even so, his inability to make free throws represents a vulnerability in his game that opponents will continue to attack until Rondo makes them pay for doing so. If Rondo can show the same ability to address his weakness from the stripe that he did with his jumper, then he will be able to give other teams pause before fouling him in pivotal moments. For now, however, as the rest of his game blossoms, Rondo’s poor shooting from the foul line represents a potentially significant development that will be monitored by the Celtics and other teams.”