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.
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “It’s that simple. The Celtics have lost their edge, and good health and a couple of ubuntu chants following huddles are not going to bring it back. This is not the 2007-08 team and the Celtics are stumbling against Eastern Conference contenders like a punch-drunk champion who has nothing but a few good rounds left. The Celtics played a sparkling first half but had nothing for a response when the Cavaliers made adjustments, as good NBA teams do. This game was reminiscent of the 36-11 pounding the Magic laid on the Celtics in the third quarter Feb. 7, only this beating lasted the entire second half.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “With 2:50 remaining in the 108-88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night at TD Garden, Celtics coach Doc Rivers threw in the white flag. His team was down 16 after being up as many as 13 on the Eastern Conference’s top squad, and Rivers sent Brian Scalabrine, Shelden Williams, and Marcus Landry onto the floor with Tony Allen and Nate Robinson. Part of it was practical. For a team that had dealt with its share of injuries – one that was playing without captain Paul Pierce for the second straight game because of a sprained right thumb – Rivers didn’t want to take any risks. Part of it was admitting defeat.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “But the Bostonians chose against the path of least resistance. In the second half, when the game was crashing in all around them, the Celts launched outside shots. They scored just 14 points in the paint, many of them when the victory was far out of reach. You want a better stat? Try on the fact Cleveland was a minus-10 with Shaq on the floor. ‘Yeah, we stopped being aggressive,’ said Ray Allen. ‘I don’t know why. The nature of the game changed. They took over as aggressors, and we were more passive.’”
Ron Borges, Boston Herald – “‘I don’t mind the 3s from LeBron,’ Ray Allen said. ‘But they got a lot of layups. A lot of dunks in transition. We stopped being aggressive. They took over the game and we got passive. I don’t know why.’ Maybe they don’t, which would be bad. Maybe they do, but can’t do anything about it, which would be worse.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “But the Celtics are well into a pattern that now defines them. They are 2-2 against the Cavaliers and Lakers combined. But add in Atlanta and Orlando, the other teams that will have lots to say about how far the C’s advance in the playoffs, and their record is 3-9. ‘We’re an executing team, and you’ve got to do that if you’re trying to beat these good teams,’ Kevin Garnett said. ‘Maybe you can get away with that against subpar teams, but when we play teams like Cleveland, LA and Orlando we have to execute. The ball has to move from one side to the other.’”