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 – “Said Ray Allen: ‘When you lose a couple in a row, the next time you win is definitely a relief. It’s exorcising demons definitely for us. You get back to that feeling of winning and finishing out fourth quarters and doing some of the things that you want to do down the stretch.’ The Celtics had fallen into a problematic pattern, getting outscored in the fourth quarter 11 times in 14 January games. Trailing by four entering the final period last night, the Celts held the Wizards to 10 points on 2-for-18 shooting (11.1 percent) the rest of the way. The visitors made half their shots and gave the ball away just once. ‘Honestly that’s what we haven’t done,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘Our offense has been sketchy in the fourth and our defense has been worse. Today I thought both things came through for us. I told our guys with five minutes left. I said, ‘OK, if we don’t score again, we’ve got to win the game. Let’s just lean on our defense.’ I didn’t literally mean that, but I thought they had to focus on the defensive end.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “So while some some have suggested that Kevin Garnett will never be the same player he was, and that Ray Allen was destined to be traded, the Celtics simply maintained their course and started their recovery process with a monster win in the nation’s capital. Rivers even mocked the panic a bit, noting that both the Orlando and Los Angeles games came down to the final possession, and had the Celtics’ final shots fallen, Boston could just as easily have been 3-1 after this four-game stretch. ‘But we’re 1-3 and the sky is falling,’ said Rivers, shaking his head. ‘It really isn’t. This was a good team win for us. A lot of guys did a lot of good things. Rasheed [Wallace] and Kevin did a terrific job. The second unit held their own, and I think they got us a lead when they came out [in the fourth quarter]. Tony [Allen]‘s defense, Baby [Glen Davis] gave us energy in the second half — this was a good one for us.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘They turned the screws up defensively,’ said Wizards center Brendan Haywood. ‘And I didn’t think we responded very well.’ Added Garnett: ‘Make no ends about it, man, we are a defensive team that can score the ball. We hang our hat on that. If we believe in anything different, we’re going to come up short a lot of times. Tonight, defense was a priority. I felt like for the first time in a long time, that we put that as a priority.’ For the first three quarters, Boston’s defense wasn’t all that different than the defense that had lost three in a row. But when the fourth quarter rolled around, the Celtics finally started playing with a sense of urgency on defense, something that has been lacking in too many games to count this season.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Butler tried a crossover, but he lost the dribble. He picked the ball back up and heaved a three with Scalabrine extending his arm in a futile attempt to block it. After it splashed through the net, the look on his face said, “He can’t guard me’’ and the gesture with his hand – slashing motion across his Adam’s apple – signaled the game was over, even though it was only the third quarter. With 18 points and eight boards up to that point, Butler was a problem. For the Celtics, the answer was Tony Allen. Coach Doc Rivers made the call to Allen on Butler in the fourth quarter. Butler never made another basket.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘Are they getting longer in the tooth? Yeah, but that’s what happens,’ said former Celtic Kevin McHale who is now a TV analyst for TNT. ‘Believe me, if you stayed 25 (years old), none of us would ever play because Jerry West and Bill Russell and everybody would never let us play. You get older, so it’s natural, you just get older and it happens. What happens is, they start looking at the season differently. It’s going to be after the All-Star game and letting Doc get Marquis Daniels back, which makes Eddie House more effective, getting Big Baby in, who had the hand injury. I think they are fine. They are where they need to be.’”