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 – “The coach says he’s willing to consider changes to his rotation, which is rather like the White House being open to tort reform. Rivers has been wringing out his brain in search of a strategic alteration or motivational trick that will slap the Celtics out of their slumber. The fact remains the Celts must count on their more senior citizens to get them through this. Specifically, if Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett don’t begin playing better, then every other discussion is moot. Considering these two have had physical issues this season, this is where the talk of Celtics problems veers into the ‘unable.’ Garnett and his right knee have looked much better since the All-Star break, but Pierce has been wildly inconsistent dealing with multiple maladies. Rivers said late Wednesday night he’s deciding whether to rest them more or let them play themselves back to their needed levels.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “You’ll find some who believe the 32-year-old’s numbers have dropped in part because he’s lost a step or two with age. Others believe he settles too much for jumpers and doesn’t attack the rim as much. There’s also the fact that the addition of new players such as Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson and the emergence of Rajon Rondo, has made the C’s less reliant on the Captain’s scoring. Whatever the reason, the end result is obvious: Pierce, while still a good player, doesn’t dominate games offensively the way he used to. And when you look at the NBA landscape, what’s the one thing all title contenders have on their roster? A player who can dominate games offensively.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Pierce insists that he’s getting the looks he wants and that the shots he’s putting up feel good to him. They just aren’t falling. ‘I don’t even think it’s really about shots,’ Allen said. ‘It’s just about being well-tuned, well-oiled as an offense. Everybody has to be selfless. Open man gets the ball. Everybody has to make the screen, make a cut, make a pass for somebody else. That’s what teams are doing to us. With the talent we have, everybody’s a weapon out there, so we have to use everybody.’”
Peter May, ESPNBoston – “It also makes it difficult when the two players on whom you most depend, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, are mere shells of themselves right now. The company line is that they will get better as the season winds down and the playoffs begin. Watching them play night in and night out, particularly Garnett, one wonders how that is ever going to be the case. KG has been back for almost two months and still looks hobbled. Guys blow past him — and over him — with impunity. In Milwaukee on Tuesday night, he bit on an upfake from Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, came down on his back and tumbled to the ground as Ilyasova made the basket (and the free throw). You can be sure a photo of that play is on every storefront in Istanbul.”
Zach Lowe, CelticsHub – “Only about a dozen point guards in the entire league got to the rim as often as Robinson over those two seasons—and all but one of them played significantly more minutes than Robinson. (I went over the numbers in this post, if you’re interested). In nine games with Boston, only 10 of Robinson’s 56 shot attempts (17.8 percent, about one attempt per game) have come at the rim. He has made just three of them. To Nate’s credit, the shot attempts he used to take at the rim are now coming from three-point range—and he’s made 13 of 29 (45 percent) from deep with Boston. If a guard with a decent three-point stroke stops attacking the rim, you generally prefer him to shoot more threes instead of long two-pointers. Robinson has only attempted 11 two-point jumpers beyond 15-feet since joining Boston, and that is in line with the percentage of shots Robinson has taken from that range in each of the last two seasons.”