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.
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “An unidentified player told coach Doc Rivers following a 96-89 loss to Orlando yesterday that the Celtics still are the better team. The numbers say otherwise. So does the Celtics coach. ‘He said, ‘We’re better than Orlando, and I said, ‘No you’re not,’ ‘ said Rivers. ‘That’s a bunch of crap. They beat you three games – two at your place. They’re better. They knocked you out of the playoffs last year. Orlando’s better than you right now. Atlanta’s better than us right now. LA’s better than us right now. Those are the teams that have beaten us. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be better than them at some point. But right now, those teams are better than us.’ At the core of this problem is a tendency – no, make that a hell-bent urge – to get comfortable with early leads.”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “‘It’s rare that you outscore a team three quarters and lose the game,’’ Rivers said. ‘When you see those numbers, with our defense, you would say, ‘Boy, they probably won the game.’ And I really believe this: We could have scored zero points in the third quarter and we should never give up 36 points. But we did.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “‘It’s not just the players,’ Rivers said. ‘I’ve got to get this right with the team as well. You know you’ve got to point your fingers everywhere. We’re 30-what, I don’t even know what our record is — 32-17. That sounds like a great record. But it’s not good enough for us. And that’s the way I look at it. So I’ve got to get the message through to this team. It’s got to be more clear. I have to do more things and, obviously, I’ve got to get the message through.’ He started Sunday by scoffing at the notion that the Celtics were better than Orlando. The Celtics can look for the positives, but until they show it, no one should believe it. ‘I’m not concerned. We feel in every game we’ve played [against elite competition], we put a good brand of basketball out there,’ Ray Allen said. ‘What we’re not doing now is doing it for 48 minutes. Right now we can’t say that we’re better than Orlando. We can’t say we’re better than Atlanta. We can’t say we’re better than the Lakers. They beat us. It’s all about what’s in the pudding, and right now we don’t have the proof.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘We were getting what we deserved,’ the coach said. ‘I thought we played like crap in the third quarter. I thought everything we did in the first half we decided not to do. We were making up our own coverages defensively, switching. We gave up nine points on switches that we never switch.’Switching to his offense, Rivers said, ‘The ball moved from in to out the entire first half. (In the) second half it stayed on the outside, stayed on the outside. Over-dribbling. And I told them when I called a timeout, I said, ‘We’re doing our own thing. We’re going to lose the game.’ ‘ Rivers has sounded similar themes after ugly losses and near losses this season. But yesterday he was more blunt. Maybe he wanted to get in his shots before the dressing room doors opened and the players got their chance. Maybe he had just seen enough. But it is growing abundantly clear that the Celtics cannot talk their way out of this drop into the NBA’s middle earth. ‘I thought we lacked discipline,’ Rivers said. ‘I think right now when you look at our team, and I say it, I love our team on paper. But we tend to be front-runners. When we get a good lead, we relax and teams take advantage of it and then you’re caught. And it’s tough to turn it back on.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘Tonight was the first night that we had our whole team together, the first night all year since training camp,’ said Ray Allen. ‘We were very optimistic and we still are. We’re not going to hang our heads. Whatever it is, we’re ready to take whatever criticism we need to take, to try and figure out the third quarter and whatever lapses we’re having in any particular game.’ Said Kevin Garnett: ‘This is our first time full throttle, so we look forward to putting it all together.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘Marquis played phenomenal,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘I’ve got to tell you I was shocked by that. I wasn’t going to play him. That’s how I thought he looked in practice. And he was terrific.’ Daniels said he won’t feel completely comfortable until he survives the first hit on the thumb. No one reached it yesterday, but he was pleased to get through this first shakedown cruise. I didn’t really have any expectations for myself,’ Daniels said after a 12-minute, 31-second stint. ‘I just wanted to come out and play my hardest. It’s always a good feeling to make your first shot. The basket started looking wider. It was just a good feeling to make that first one.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Rajon Rondo on the Celtics’ third quarter: ‘We just got stagnant. Before you knew it, it was out of control. I don’t even recall what we ran in the third quarter. We only had three turnovers in the first half and in the third we had eight. Maybe we got too comfortable with the lead. We were up even more, like 18 in Orlando, and the same thing happened. We’re not disciplined enough to do what we did to get the lead. ‘That’s our problem. We just get too comfortable. It starts with me.’”