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.
Jessica Camerato, WEEI – “‘I always, I have this thing in my mind like sometimes when I’m sleeping I dream that I can fly,’ he said. ‘When I’m playing basketball, it always tells myself that I’ve still got great legs, like I still have that lift in my legs. So when I get on the floor, you see a play, you see something happen, you just feel like you can take it, you can make a certain play happened based on getting up there to the basket.’ Allen doesn’t have wings in his dream. He isn’t a high-flying hero like Superman or Iron Man either. Instead he imagines things like soaring over an oncoming car or running with his friends in the air. It can even be as simple as making it home from a park in a single jump. The dream has a deeper meaning for the 34-year-old than just being able to take flight. To him, it exemplifies the work ethic that he has committed himself to over his 14-year career. ‘I’ve been having that for a long time,’ Allen explained. ‘That’s why when I always wake up, it’s like a great feeling. You wake up and you just know, for me what I do, I get out on the floor and I just feel like I still have that. For me, it translates into my athleticism.’”
Israel Gutierrez, Miami Herald – “For a quarter, it appeared the Heat was still sulking from a surprising home loss to the Pistons.And then, for a moment, it appeared the somber climate would last for much, much longer. The Heat recovered from a sluggish first quarter to beat the Knicks 111-98 at Madison Square Garden and rediscover the winning formula that Detroit forced it to forget. [...] The win moved Miami into a tie with Milwaukee for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, though the Bucks own the tiebreaker, and cut the Heat’s magic number to clinch at least the No. 6 seed — ahead of Charlotte — to one with two games left for both teams.
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “So just what minimum level of postseason achievement would it take for the Celts’ season to be considered a success? Pierce did not pause long. ‘A championship, man,’ Pierce said as the Celts took a day off in Chicago. ‘I mean, that’s what we were saying in the preseason. We want to be the champs. That’s the minimum level. I don’t care what our record is. I don’t care how we’ve played. Our minimum level is winning the championship. That’s been our goal since we brought the team together, and that’s not changed.’ But is it realistic? ‘Yeah,’ Pierce said. ‘Without question. Look, there’s no way we can get around the fact that we lost to some bad teams, but we beat some good teams. And at the end of the day, we just have to beat four teams to win it all. We have a chance to do that. It’s going to be 0-0 after Wednesday night. It’s been tough for us. But you can look at everything in different ways. There’s pros and cons, if you want to really look at it. We know we’re not going to have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, but at the same time we’ve been one of the best road teams in all of basketball.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Although Doc Rivers has said the Celtics get a lot of grief for a 50-win team, Ainge understands and even agrees with the criticism. ‘You know what? Fifty wins isn’t good enough,’ he said yesterday. ‘It gives us a chance in the playoffs and the playoffs is what’s going to determine it, but we have to play a lot better. The expectations are much higher than that. There aren’t many 50-win teams that have won championships. There’s a lot more 60-win teams that have won championships and we feel like we’re a championship team going into the playoffs. So I would say 50 wins is less than everybody’s expectations going into the playoffs.’ [...] Ainge said he is not so supportive of the ‘turn it on in the playoffs’’ theory, despite the presence of the Big Three and their 2008 title. ‘It’s certainly rare and not anybody’s strategy,’ he said. ‘It’s not a strategy from my standpoint. Not a strategy from Doc’s standpoint. So no, I don’t think that that’s the way to approach any season or any game. I’m just hopeful that our team can play its best because we’re going to have to play a lot better than we have during the course of the regular season to be successful.’”
Zach Lowe, CelticsHub – “Ray Allen scored 21 points on just 7 field-goal attempts Saturday night against the Bucks. This struck me as rare but not necessarily notable. Just for kicks, I decided to check how unusual it is for a player to score so many points on so few shot attempts. Please note: This is not an exhaustive analysis conducted in accordance with the scientific theory. It’s for fun—or what passes for fun in such ultra-nerdy circles as CelticsHub. And guess what? Ray Allen had never—not ever!—scored 20 or more points in game in which he took 7 or fewer shots, according to Basketball-Reference.”
Howard Beck, New York Times – “In the waning days of a breakout season, Kevin Durant will be confronted with thorny decisions. Shoot or pass. Lead or defer. Attack or hang back. His mentor will not be there to guide him. But he knows exactly what he would say. ‘Young fella,’ George Gervin said, thinking out loud, ‘you better get it while you can.’ Translation: Shoot. Drive. Score. As much as possible. Do not hesitate. Do it now. Do it for posterity. Seize the N.B.A. scoring title, because it is there. ‘This is history we’re talking about,’ Gervin said.”
Michael Hunt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – “And while we’re on all these Bucks-Celtics-Hawks coincidences as this regular season comes down to those three from our little corner of the league, Boston coach Doc Rivers knows about the usual early rhythm of postseason, too. Rivers was the Atlanta point guard in the 1989 playoffs. Although the Hawks were a No. 4, they were heavily favored against the No. 5 Bucks in the first round because Atlanta was 6-0 vs. Milwaukee in the regular season. When the aging Bucks won in five games, Del Harris wept on the bench. So, yes, the playoffs are different. We know that by the way the tempo tends to grind to the half court. Beyond that, strange things do happen.”