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.
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn’t happy that his team dropped its third game in four nights, wrapping up a four-game road trip 1-3 after a Christmas Day win in Orlando. But he admitted the odds were stacked against his shorthanded team Wednesday night at Phoenix as it battles mounting injuries, and he said he hoped his troops learned how important it is to capture winnable games. ‘The lesson we should learn on this trip is that when you give away games with the Clippers when you’re healthy, then do it again [against the Warriors], and then when you’re injured, you need those games back — but you can’t get them back,’ said Rivers. ‘This game would have been very difficult to win. They’re a very good team. When you take your two best scorers away against a scoring team … you might not win that game. This game doesn’t affect me at all.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Despite being without about half of their usual playing rotation, Rivers came into the game with no thoughts of conceding defeat. ‘I expected to win,’ he said. ‘I think we pay every guy. As long as you do, you have to come in the game with the expectations to win.’ But it seemed in the game’s early stages, the Celtics didn’t have the kind of fight you normally see from them. It was as if they bought into the notion that because they were so short-handed – Marquis Daniels (left thumb) and Glen Davis (sprained right ankle) were also out – a loss to the Suns was something they had no control over. ‘Somebody has to be the spark. We didn’t have that tonight,’ said Kendrick Perkins, who had 13 points and seven rebounds. ‘We came out like Doc said, we kind of (played like) we knew we were going to lose the game or something like that. Doc tried to give us some energy, but it just wasn’t there for us mentally and physically.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “‘They were more aggressive than us today,’ said Eddie House, who provided the only spark for Boston, hitting five of the seven 3-pointers he attempted off the bench for a team-high 19 points. ‘We came out and we were kind of lollygagging after that point, you know, going through the motions. They came out playing hard and they got us. So tip your cap to them. We’ll try to regroup next game. We’ll get it together, it’s a long season.’”
Bright Side of the Sun – “Channing set his season high with 26 points on 9 of 15 shooting including 6 three’s. Many of those three’s came at key points when the Celtics were making a push to get back in the game. His shooting tonight wasn’t just on fire, it was clutch. More impressive though was his 10 rebounds. He understands that his rebounding is as important if not more so to this team and he’s certainly focused on that. He’s also working hard on adding some dribble drive moves to his game. ‘They’re closing out so hard on him and that’s something he’s worked on in practice. He has to be able to put it down for one or two dribbles and shoot it or if there’s an ally he’s got to be able to take it to the basket. He’s gotten pretty good at that,’ said Gentry.”
Paul Coro, Arizona Republic – “Two nights after routing the Lakers, the Suns lit up the Celtics’ NBA-best scoring defense for a 116-98 victory Wednesday night. Boston was finishing a four-game road trip that began in Orlando and finished in the West, and Paul Pierce (knee), Kevin Garnett (knee), Glen Davis (ankle) and Marquis Daniels (thumb) sat out. But the Suns still became the only team besides the Lakers to sweep Celtics since 2007-08, re-establishing home-court success and its offense. ‘I say to our guys all the time, ‘When we play at home, we expect to win every game,” said Suns coach Alvin Gentry, whose home record is 26-5 since taking over. ‘It doesn’t matter who we play.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Kevin Garnett joined Paul Pierce on the shelf. And there was no Glen Davis or Marquis Daniels. Ergo no real prayer. Rajon Rondo did play in the 116-98 loss to the Suns, but with a tightly wrapped left hamstring, acquiring 13 points and eight assists. He said after his only problem was Phoenix, but he was clearly not his freewheeling self. ‘I was proud of him because he’s at the level now where he can play on one leg and dominate the game, and I thought he did that at times,’ said Celts coach Doc Rivers. ‘He’s really assuming a role of leadership on this team, and I’m probably as proud of him as any player in a long time because he’s come a long way. I’m very happy for him.’”