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 – “Rajon Rondo [stats] delivered what might be construed as a shot when he was asked about previous teams not facing this adversity and said, ‘I try not to look back on the past. It’s a different team this year. That’s our problem. A couple of years ago, we didn’t have the same team. We had the same main guys, but it’s still a team effort, from the first guy to the 15th guy.’ Garnett was a little more selective. ‘The words that we want to use, you guys can’t write in your column or put on this television,’ he said. ‘But we’re going to get better. We’re too prideful, too competitive as men to go another route.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “‘It’s just frustrating,’ said [Ray] Allen. ‘As an athlete, when you lose, sometimes it’s best to reserve your opinion. There’s things we could have done a lot better — better execution on offense and defense. We’ll watch the film and get a fresher perspective. But it’s just frustrating. You have to sit back and try to let this hurt, let it push you to be better. It’s a new challenge, a new way to deal with things,’ he said. ‘It’ll force us to be better, whatever happens. Moving forward from here, we have to know that being together is the best thing for all of us. When you sit atop the mountain, you think of all the adversity and bad things that happened to you along the way. Hopefully we can sit there some day.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “It matters that the Celtics lost four games to a team they had beaten four times last year. It means any idea of dominance in the Eastern Conference may have vanished. Teams such as the Hawks, a pack of young wolves biting at the heels of a veteran Celtics team, may not only be a possible threat, but a legitimate rival. When the Hawks took the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the 2008 playoffs, they planted a seed. The team that dealt the Celtics a 100-91 loss last night, sweeping them in a season for the first time since 1998-99 (and for the first time in a four-game series since 1995-96), had matured over the last two years.
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘We brought the bench in, which you had to do because of playing [Thursday night], and they go up by 11,’ said coach Doc Rivers. ‘Starters come back in the third quarter and get it back to 1, you put the bench in, and bam. So it’s tough.’ After scoring 17 points in Orlando, Rasheed Wallace went 2 for 8 from the floor, missing 4 of 5 threes, in a 6-point night. And Allen was minus-22 in his 15 minutes. ‘The bench has to be more focused,’ said [Tony] Allen. ‘We gave up two leads. To have leads like that, you have to sustain that lead or build off it. I would have to say we need to be better. That’s all. We need to be better.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “‘[It was a] playoff game,’ said Woodson. ‘The referees] let it go both ways. Everybody was banging and bodies were flying around. Our guys stepped up and made plays when they had to make them.’ For their part, the Celtics weren’t buying it. Boston point guard Rajon Rondo immediately dismissed the notion of a playoff atmosphere, while Kevin Garnett pointed out that opponents often treat the Celtics like defending champions, raising their own play each night based simply on Boston’s history of success. And, despite the sweep, Boston rallied around the idea that, should the two teams meet again in the postseason, the slate is wiped clean. ‘You don’t get to go to the second round [of the playoffs] when you sweep a team in the regular season,’ said Rivers. ‘You get to go to the next game.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “While the issues with Boston these days varies, those problems all stem from an overall lack of consistency. ‘We haven’t been consistent,’ Garnett said. ‘I’ve said time and time again, the label of a good team is through consistency. Not just on the offensive end, but every night on the defensive end. We are a defensive team. Whether we want to dress it up to be something else, that’s who we are. That’s what we hang our hats on. We just have to re-adjust and re-focus and get that back.’”