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 – “Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t try to sugarcoat his team’s 96-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls Thursday night at TD Garden. ‘Well, we got our butts kicked tonight in every fashion,’ said Rivers. ‘I hate when it happens at home, it’s happened too much as far as I’m concerned, but we’ve got to fix the problem.’ Rivers spent much of the rest of his postgame Q&A with the media explaining that, while injuries and busy stretches are not excuses for losing, his team has certainly been tested playing four games in five nights while ravaged by injuries.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Rivers said he is targeting Monday as a return date for Wallace, who has missed three games. ‘It was about five or six minutes left in the fourth quarter [of the Toronto game],’ Wallace said. ‘It got real sore to where I still had to play on it, but after the game ice it down. I am going to take a couple of days off, let the swelling go down. It comes with age. It’s a normal basketball injury, nothing out of the ordinary, joints flaring up, that’s all. Ain’t nothing real serious.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “While disappointment permeated the Celtics’ locker room, there was also an overwhelming sense that the worst is over. Sure, Boston fell to 4-6 in its last 10 games. Yes, the Celtics have already matched their total number of home losses from all of last season. Yet, even as they wait for the tow truck, the Celtics still boast the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and have been competitive in just about every game during the stretch, despite the injuries, illnesses and scheduling difficulties they’ve encountered. Even Rivers noted that, as awful as Boston performed Thursday — and they were downright gruesome at times, particularly at the free-throw line where the weary Celtics made just 15 of 28 attempts — they seemed to be a couple of defensive stops away from stealing a win.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “As the team’s best player, Rose has been anointed Chicago’s leader. But it was Noah and Luol Deng who provided most of the energy tonight for the Bulls. Noah, from whom double-doubles are now expected, put up 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulls were plus 18 with him on the floor. ‘He’s our spark,’ said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. ‘We feed off him.’ Noah’s infectious energy is an annoyance to opposing teams and fans. One Celtics fan held up a sign at tonight’s game that had something to do with calling Noah ugly. But unlike Mike Bibby, another favorite Celtics pariah, Noah draws his ire solely from what he does on the court. He hustles.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Undermanned or not, the C’s played as if their game never made it on board Wednesday night’s flight from New Jersey. There were plenty of bad signs, but perhaps the most glaring was their performance from the most uncontested spot on the floor, where they shot 15-of-28 from the free throw line – one of the worst games in memory. It was as good a place as any for Rivers to start. ‘Let’s hope, you know, let’s hope,’ he said of whether those struggles from the line resulted from the just-completed grind. ‘It could’ve been. We were missing them early.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Defending the Celtics has become a simpler proposition with Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace absent. The halfcourt offense is becoming claustrophobic and opposing teams are crowding out center Kendrick Perkins. ‘I really think the toughest thing for us right now is we have no low-post scoring,’ coach Doc Rivers said after a 96-83 loss to Chicago last night. ‘Perk’s doing the best he can, but even he is getting double teams now. With Kevin and Rasheed out you can see all the double teams coming his way. And Perk is getting that more than he wants it. But it’ll all shake out.’”
Zach Lowe, CelticsHub – “This is the game when you really felt the absence of Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics just could not find open space inside tonight. Almost every time the Celtics managed to get the ball in the lane, two or three Chicago defenders were there with hands up to contest any potential shot and get in the way of any potential kick-out pass. It was hard work just getting a shot off; those 10 blocked shots Chicago recorded tonight ties the C’s season-high—set against Chicago in December—for blocks allowed. It’s not just as simple as missing Rasheed Wallace’s ability to drag one large defender out to the three-point line, though that helps space the floor. Sheed and KG are also a threat to score from 15 feet and in, and defenders can’t just leave them 12 feet from the hoop to help on Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce.”