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 – “Rajon Rondo already has Bob Cousy’s Celtics record for most assists in a season, but he also has something more valuable. Cousy’s respect and admiration. ‘I’ve been saying since probably the first year that it seems to me he touches all the bases for a point guard,’ said the Cooz. ‘If there is a negative – and I don’t know how much of a negative it is – he seems to be insecure about his shooting. But, hell, the guy’s shooting almost 52 percent. How much better could he be if he looked for his shot all the time? But that’s not the function of a point guard. Everything else is there. He rebounds much taller than he is. He’s a tough, tough defender. And he creates well. He adds a little something, so he’s obviously getting more confident with the moves and the imagination that he shows. As far as I’m concerned, he’s their most valuable player this year.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “While there’s no guarantee the two sides will see each other again, it is looking more likely with two games to play and both sides talked as if it were a guarantee. ‘It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait, just from the two games we’ve played them it’s going to be a fist fight,’ said Jennings. The Celtics wouldn’t call Saturday’s clash a statement game, but clearly they certainly delivered a message. ‘When you have a chance to play a team that you could possibly see in the playoffs, you don’t want to give them confidence or swagger,” said Pierce. “If you let them beat you consistently, then when you play that matchup, they think they have the advantage — it gives them confidence. Those type of things can win a series, I’ve seen that happen. We wanted to put an end to that. They really played us good last time we were here, but we got the win [Saturday]. Hopefully we do the same when we see them at our place and win the season series.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “‘We set the tone defensively and that is most important,’ Pierce said. ‘We prefer to keep the game in the half court and let our defense do the talking and try to grind it out because we feel like we can win those type of games.’ Kurt Thomas, the 15-year veteran who has been starting in place of injured center Andrew Bogut, was assessed a flagrant-1 for throwing down Davis as he attempted a layup and Davis received a technical for getting in Thomas’s face. Moments later, veterans Jerry Stackhouse and Pierce each received technicals for wrestling on the floor after they collided on an inbounds play with 2:22 left. Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles was ejected for arguing the foul called on Stackhouse and Ray Allen’s free throws gave the Celtics a commanding 92-82 lead. ‘With about four minutes to go in the second quarter, they started getting really physical with us,’ Skiles said. ‘And we didn’t respond really well to that. Just because there might be some technicals and I get tossed out of a game doesn’t necessarily mean there was a lot of intensity. Having said that, there was [intensity] in pockets of the game, for sure.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “It was the Boston Celtics’ defense that sparked the team’s 105-90 win at Milwaukee. But in the second half, the C’s saw the return of something just as important – Paul Pierce. The Captain bounced back from a poor, nine-point performance in a loss to Washington, to lead all scorers on Saturday with 24 points. It wasn’t so much that Pierce was scoring, but how the points were coming. Most of his points came on short to medium-range jumpers – the shot that when he gets it going, is almost impossible to shut down. ‘[Pierce] was doing what he does,’ said Bucks coach Scott Skiles. ‘He takes a couple dribbles, uses his body a little bit, rises up and shoots. We didn’t have a whole lot of answers for that.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston – “Pierce missed five of the first eight shots he took Saturday, but made his first seven attempts of the second half in helping Boston motor away from the Bucks. Pierce found a soft spot in the Milwaukee defense and torched them with his 18-foot jumper. ‘In the third quarter, we decided to spread the court a bit and I was able to find space,’ said Pierce. ‘Once I figured out in the first half that each time I drove, the defense would collapse on me. I started to stop short for my little pull-up jumper and I was able to knock it down. It’s one of those things you read. I missed four or five shots at the rim [in the first half] because I was going up against two or three defenders. I had to find some open space.’ Pierce scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half with his biggest contribution coming over a 90-second span late in the fourth quarter. Pierce made three straight jumpers, including the final with 3:31 to play that kept Boston out front, 88-81, as Milwaukee tried desperately to make a charge.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “While Garnett rested, Rivers is hoping Pierce will regain his rhythm – which looked positively Motown-worthy last night. Pierce grooved to 24 points, making 10-of-17 from the floor. It’s likely he’ll light a candle in church this morning and pray he sees these guys next weekend. ‘That was big for us,’ said Rivers of Pierce’s performance. ‘He’s not done that really. That’s why you’re still playing him. We talked about just trying to get Paul some rhythm, because if he can get his offensive rhythm, that makes us really good.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “With only two games remaining, the Celtics (50-30) are a game behind Atlanta (51-29) for the No. 3 seed in the East. Meanwhile, the Bucks have the inside track on the No. 5 seed over Miami and Charlotte. Although both teams know that it’s not a given they’ll meet up in the playoffs, you wouldn’t have known it by the way they went at each other down the stretch of a game that was much closer than the final score might indicate. ‘We’re going to see these guys (in the playoffs),’ predicted C’s forward Glen Davis, who picked up a technical foul in the fourth quarter following an incident between him and Milwaukee’s Kurt Thomas. ‘And if we see them, they’ll be ready to play and the intensity level is going to be high and just knowing that we got a win in here, it’s good for us.’”