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 – “Paul Pierce also wants to keep playing. ‘He hasn’t talked to me about that,’ Pierce said of Rivers. ‘I don’t really think it’s going to benefit me or the team. It’s not like we have a position locked up. So these games mean something, and I’m trying to keep a rhythm going.’ But Rivers clearly was thinking about the mail-in debacle against the Wizards when he said of Celts wanting to play, ‘I don’t mind that with all of them, as long as you do it hard. We say we want to play, but we’ve got to do it hard. If you’re not doing it hard or I don’t feel like you’re doing it hard, I’m choosing rest. I don’t worry much about Ray (Allen), because Ray plays the way he plays. Paul we may (sit) one of the games. We’re not even sure about (tonight). It’s 50-50 whether he plays.’ As for Garnett, Rivers said, ‘I don’t know if he goes the last two. He’ll most likely go (tonight).’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘We made it through a tough season, and at this point I think everybody’s pretty much healthy,’ Pierce said. ‘Hopefully, they can stay that way over the next couple of games going into the playoffs and we’ll see what happens. We had our share of injuries. Guys missed significant amounts of games. But at this point, I think it’s great that guys have fresh bodies going into the playoffs. Some teams are battling injuries going into the playoffs. We got ours out of the way, I guess.’ Rivers was strict about allotting minutes, allowing no one to play more than Rondo’s 36.6 a night and limiting Garnett to 29.9. ‘You can’t plan for injuries,’ Rivers said. ‘Injuries happen, and there’s no control over it. You can play a guy for 30 seconds and he can get injured. That’s just life in sports. Minutes you can control. Rest you can control. Rhythm you can control. I just focus on the things I can control. The other stuff, you can’t control.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Injuries have prevented Pierce from getting into the kind of steady flow offensively he’s used to. That has been one of the main reasons Rivers has been reluctant to sit him out when healthy. But that’s where hard practices like Monday come into play. ‘That’s why we go hard in practice,’ said Rivers, who added that he’s not worried about limiting the minutes played by Ray Allen. ‘The only way if you’re going to sit a guy or rest a guy more in games, the only way he’s going to get his rhythm is by going longer or harder in practice.’ Regardless of what Rivers decides to do, there are going to be those who will question the decision. ‘I don’t even know what’s the right answer for any of that,’ Rivers said. ‘Nobody does. But I do know if you practice at game speed, it gives you a better chance (of keeping your rhythm).’”
Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub – “Both games were dicey late but ended as expected tonight: Atlanta beat Milwaukee on the road and the Heat squeaked past Philly. [...] The Celtics aren’t locked into a first-round series with Miami, but it’s getting close. There are only two scenarios I can see in which the C’s would face the Bucks in the first round. Both are unlikely…”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “With the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks rounding out the schedule, [Paul Pierce] said there’s still something to play for. His intentions are to a) win and b) get into as much of a rhythm as possible with the season winding down. Two games against two playoff teams seems like both the perfect test and tuneup. ‘These games really mean something pretty much for everybody, for us too,’ Pierce said. ‘We’re trying to win, we’re trying to move up. You want to get as high a seed as possible because you never know what could happen as far as upsets or home-court advantage in a certain round. We’re trying to move up too, and every game is important to us and also for the other two teams.’”
Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – “Salmons said he wasn’t worried about consecutive defeats to the Celtics and Hawks, even though the Bucks know they will be facing one of them when the postseason opens. ‘The regular season doesn’t have anything to do with the playoffs,’ Salmons said. ‘Whoever we play, it’s going to be a tough series and we’re up to the challenge.’”