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.
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “‘We’re not conceding homecourt,’ he said. ‘We are as far as the Cavs – it’d be impossible (to catch them) unless they go on an amazing losing streak – but we would love to get the rest of the series (at home) because we are healthy enough to go for it. I don’t concede this. Obviously we concede the No. 1 seed. It’d be very difficult.’ Despite his team’s struggles at the Garden, Rivers is confident the C’s will benefit from a homecourt advantage this spring. ‘I know in the playoffs, you want homecourt,’ Rivers said. ‘No matter how well or poorly you’ve played at home, at the end of the day, we’ll be good at home in the playoffs.’”
CSNNE – “‘There’s no fire in the belly,’ [Cedric Maxwell] told Felger. ‘When this team has played well, you heard Kevin Garnett barking and screaming at people. When this team has played well, [Rajon] Rondo has had the ability . . . to step up and get emotional . . . And Doc Rivers right now, coaching . . . I’m not sure exactly where this team is going and what they’re listening to. It just seems like, everybody’s going in another direction right now.’ He said he doesn’t think the players have tuned out Rivers — ‘I think Doc still has their ear. But I think collectively right now, as a unit, they’ve tuned out each other. And that is a bigger problem.” — but that their attitude has to change. ‘I still think they can get healthy, but I think they have to get healthy in a mental respect,’ he said. ‘They still have a very talented basketball team. Now, in 1977 when I got to the Celtics, we had a very talented basketball team. Seven guys who had made the All-Star team. And then, all of a sudden, we became a paper champion. This right now is what the Celtics are becoming: A paper champion. Until they get out with the attitude and the aggressive nature and the posture, get out there and kick some booty, they’re not going to win anything . . . [Right] now, the way they’re going, I could go out there, if I was with New Jersey [last Saturday], I could have [gotten] 15 points and 10 rebounds.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘I think it’s just 48 minutes of concentration, playing through the game,’ he added. ‘We’ve been doing this for the last couple of weeks, not running through the race. When you get into the race, you’ve got to finish the race, and that’s what it’s all about. We played great for the whole Cleveland game, then the third quarter and fourth quarter. It seemed like the New Jersey game we were just pretty much off the whole game. So hopefully we can get things back on track. Guys were really upbeat today, really had a good practice today.’ Asked for reasons why things have slipped, Pierce said, ‘I think the thing we’re always going to point to is our defense, because we’re a defensive team first. We’ve got to get better in pick-and-roll defense. I think that’s really affecting how we play on offense. When the defense is going well, it seems like the offense is going really well. Then when one thing is not going, it’s vice versa. So one thing that’s got to remain constant is our defense and being consistent there, because there are going to be nights when our shot’s not going to fall and things aren’t going to go our way.’”
Rich Levine, CSNNE – “‘It was difficult, just watching my team go through what they went through. You know the fourth quarter against Cleveland, the Jersey game,’ he said. ‘There are no excuses. I thought we should have taken care of business, but hopefully we can get back on track on the road. For some reason we play better on the road than we do at home. The thing we’re always going to point to is our defense. We’re a defense team first, and I think we have to get better with our pick-and-roll defense. That’s really affecting how we play on offense. Our defense is our main constant, we have to be consistent there because there will be nights when our shots aren’t going to fall. [Defensively], our first effort is there every time, but it’s the second and third effort that’s going to help us win ball games, help us get loose balls and help us rebound.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “‘We had a good practice [yesterday] and we needed it,’ Rivers said. ‘And we need a couple more of them. We know the issues and we’ve got to keep working on them – nothing wrong, we’ve just got to do it right. I would like it not to be, but this is basketball and it happens – we’re not used to it happening here. Sometimes you can see it on film, sometimes you can see it on the floor. Sometimes you’ve got to get your butt whipped before you can see it and I’m hoping that happens. We’re one loss out of second place in the East, one game behind Denver, three or four behind LA. As bad as we’re playing, we’re still in the thick of it, and that’s what you want. We have a lot of games to get it right.’ The Celtics installed plays from the Knicks for guard Nate Robinson. ‘We wanted everyone else to feel uncomfortable and Nate to be comfortable,’ Rivers said. Said Robinson: ‘I’ll be calling those plays 99.9 percent of the time.’ . . . Rivers said the Celtics are being cautious with illnesses. Perkins, who missed the team flight yesterday, could arrive today, but only ‘if he’s feeling a lot better,’ Rivers said. ‘We have a lot of guys not feeling well. If guys are sick we don’t want them around.’”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “‘I’m just trying to figure out this defensive playbook that’s pretty crazy,” Robinson said after completing his second full practice with the C’s. “The offense is going to come easy, guys are helping me out with the spots. But they’re helping me out a lot on defense. That’s the main thing that I’m focused on right now.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “This is what we know: Since Christmas, the Celtics have played 29 games and lost 16. That’s not a trend or a slump, and it’s not a small sample size. If you want to believe that the first 28 proved something, then you can’t discount the next 29’s impact. They have played 11 games during that span against teams with the top 10 records in the NBA and they are 1-10 against the elite, with the lone victory coming by a point against a Kobe-less Laker team. That suggests a lack of talent, or at least a lack of healthy talent. They have played 10 games against the bottom 10 teams in the league and have managed to win only six of them. Compounding that was the dreadful loss to the Nets, at home no less, on the day after Danny Ainge ripped them in the local papers. That suggests a lack of focus. There have been reasons both mitigating (injuries) and galling (boredom), but the bottom line is that the Celtics are not a very good basketball team right now and they haven’t been since the calendar flipped to 2010.”