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.
Green Street, WEEI – [Wyc Grousbeck interview] “Interviewer: ‘Is there a team that makes you nervous matchup-wise in the playoffs?’ Wyc: ‘The team that makes me nervous is the Celtics. I’m serious, I think we have a chance to be as good as anybody at any given time. And it’s not just flashes of it. I think people are looking at us and saying, let’s avoid those guys in the playoffs. I think it starts with us, and then worry about the other teams. We should be worried about other teams, Atlanta beat us four times, Cleveland has the edge on us, obviously the Lakers and other people out west. Orlando beat us last year. We’re worried about a ton of teams, but it starts with us.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “But just how extraordinary was Boston’s efforts Wednesday? The folks from ESPN Stats and Information help put it in perspective. The Celtics generated 17 offensive rebounds — double their season average of 8.5 per game. And while that aided them in putting up a season-high 90 field-goal attempts, Boston still maintained an offensive-rebound rate (the percentage of offensive rebounds vs. total number of available boards) of 37.8 percent, which is 15 percent higher than their season average (22.6 percent). Boston finished with a 45-36 advantage in total rebounds. ‘We’ve been trying to [make offensive rebounds a focus],’ said Kevin Garnett. ‘I think [Glen Davis] as of late has been in offensive-rebounding mode. I think he has been averaging three or four these last couple games. But the focus is always to rebound, get the ball to [Rajon] Rondo, hit the lane and run the court; speed the game up and use our quickness, by getting the ball to Paul in his spots. Rebounding is totally a focus right now going down to these last couple of games.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – You can debate whether they’re playing their best ball, but after a 2-1 road trip and a thorough home win against the Nuggets, at least the Celts again can talk about the possibility of a long playoff run with a straight face. It moves one to wonder just how hurt these guys were when they staggered around the NBA during the middle of the season. Paul Pierce finally admitted to the depth of his injuries and gave himself a dope slap for sailing on when it would have been better to rest. And there is little question this isn’t quite the same Kevin Garnett who was carrying around his right leg as if it were someone else’s appendage. So is this simply a matter of getting more whole, or did the Celtics suffer from a brain deficiency, as it seemed when they were glossing over their plays? ‘I think it’s been a little bit of both,’ Pierce said. ‘I think when you’re physically down, it can wear on you mentally. You know, you’re seeing guys go down. Guys that you truly depend on aren’t there. That can be tough, and it seemed like it was happening every other week.’”
Peter May, ESPNBoston – “‘Sheed is going to be Sheed no matter what. And that can go either way,’ Chauncey Billups said. They won a championship together in 2004. They nearly won another in 2005 and were teammates for five years in Detroit. Billups had mostly positive things to say about Rasheed Wallace in the wake of yet another underwhelming performance by the Celtics’ prize free agent of 2009 (2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls in 15 minutes in the Celtics’ 113-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets). But, Billups also knows we have not seen anything close to what we had hoped to see from No. 30. Let’s just put it this way: Wallace need not worry about saving space on the trophy shelf for the NBA Sixth Man Award this season. ‘He’s not the player athletically that he was in ’04 or even in ’05 or ’06,’ Billups said. ‘Mentally, he’s always been a smart player and I don’t think he’s lost that. But this is kind of how he was last year in Detroit [when he basically packed it in]. I don’t know what you all were expecting.’”
Marc D’Amico, Celtics.com – “You see, most NBA playoff teams have a firm grasp on who their top seven or eight players are. Those are the players that will garner all of the playing time in the postseason. For Rivers, that couldn’t be any farther from the case. With the recent acquisitions of veteran swingman Michael Finley and sparkplug Nate Robinson, Rivers now has a plethora of options both on the perimeter and in the paint when it comes to bench players. In fact, there’s such an abundance of talent that Rivers will often send 10 players onto the court in a game and get positive results from each and every one of them.”