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 – “‘Things happen to us that you turn and you ask yourself, ‘Why me?’ ” Garnett said as the Celtics had yesterday off in preparation for tonight’s road trip finale against the Phoenix Suns. “I told him when he went to the line (Monday), I smacked him and I said, ‘Yeah, redemption. Payback.’ I just kept filling him with that. It either makes you or breaks you, man. You can’t break this kid. This kid is made of carbon, man. Everybody knows what carbon is. You know that it’s damn near invincible. It’s just more than a pleasure to be his teammate.’ Rondo shrugged it all off, but he was seriously down in LA. ‘I was bummed out up until gametime (Monday),” Rondo said. “But luckily it’s the NBA. We had a back-to-back, so I tried to redeem myself, but we still got another loss. For me, I get down on myself. I’m very hard on myself. But I’m still confident. I’m going to play the game and feel like I’m the best at it.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “‘I think it’s a combination of we’re getting some pretty good performances by other teams and we’re not playing as hard as we can play for 48 minutes,’ he said. ‘We think we can show up for a quarter or a half, and that’s not good enough in this league, and that’s been our pattern. We come out of the gates ready to play and have shown up to play in some cases. Other cases we haven’t; we’ve had to turn it on in the second half. That’s the fear I had at the beginning of the season – play it out and wait for the playoffs to roll around and not bringing it night in and night out. This is the second stretch where we really haven’t really shown up. The urgency of winning from the get-go hasn’t been important enough.’ Mentally – and that’s 90 percent of how NBA games are won – the Celtics had the Warriors defeated. All that was required was basic execution for the final three quarters. But with tired bodies on the second game of a back-to-back stretch, Paul Pierce sitting in his Waltham home trying not to kick the television with his healing right leg, and the offense depending solely on Rajon Rondo, the Celtics faltered.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “On one hand, Doc Rivers has derided his team’s play even in victories. But he seemed to be debating himself when he let his guys off the hook. ‘If you look around, all the good teams have tight games against the lower teams,’ he said. ‘These are NBA players, so they’re going to play well. And it’s tough to win an NBA game. I think if you ask the bad teams, they’ll tell you that.’ The problem the Celtics encounter is a boredom of sorts. They generally lose the mental energy to simply run their stuff and make extra passes when they get around teams they see as beneath them. On the rare occasions when they stick with their plan, they systematically run the foe out of the building. But too often they take the ball and try to make individual plays. The issue is even more acute down the stretch. With the experience and alleged wisdom on the team, it just shouldn’t be happening this often.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE - “For a veteran team, we played with absolutely zero composure,’ Rivers said. ‘We just didn’t play like a veteran basketball team tonight.’ Little did Rivers know that would be a recurring theme just 24 hours later. Ill-timed turnovers. Poor shot selection. Mental breakdowns defensively. If there was a way to keep the Warriors in the game, the Celtics were more than willing to give it to them. Kevin Garnett understands what’s going on. The Celtics aren’t playing Celtics basketball.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Davis left Oracle in arena wearing a protective boot and walking with crutches. ‘I haven’t heard anything, which means nothing is serious,’ Ainge said. ‘I sent (trainer) Eddie (Lacerte) a text and I haven’t heard anything and usually that means it’s not much.’ Meanwhile, Ainge said the team will evaluate Paul Pierce’s right knee this weekend to determine when he will return. ‘We don’t have any definite dates or change on Paul,’ he said.”