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.
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston: “‘I always worry about [momentum], even when we win one game,” said Rivers. “We just haven’t been the type of team — and it’s strange because veteran teams usually handle that well — but we have not. We have not handled it well all year. You can always tell [when Boston wins games] because our practices are always louder when we win. So I know [Monday's] practice there will be a lot of talk and a lot of whistle-blowing to get them focused. That’s how we are.’ Boston certainly has a propensity to take its eye off the prize when things are going well. Heck, the Celtics nearly coughed up a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 1 win.
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston: What’s more, Boston is playing an inspired brand of ball. Its defense — ultra-physical and unapologetic — rivals the 2008 championship squad at times, while the offense is displaying more balance than most tightrope walkers. A bench shortened to the barest of bones is providing key contributions on the biggest of stages after being frustratingly inconsistent all season. Who could have possibly seen this coming? Rivers did. And during Monday’s workout, players heaped much of the praise on him for never letting players take their eyes off the ultimate prize.‘Doc Rivers is everything, he’s the glue that keeps us all together, the captain of our ship,’ said Kevin Garnett.
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe: The Celtics have earned the reputation as one of the league’s stingiest defenses the past three seasons, but that mind-set was missing most of this season. The Celtics allowed 100 points or more in 30 games, their defense slashed and overwhelmed by young, eager opponents who capitalized on their age.It wasn’t that coach Doc Rivers and associate head coach Tom Thibodeau adjusted the defensive sets or stressed help any less than two years ago. The problem was focus. Although the Celtics worked feverishly on defense every day, the players lacked the fervor to execute.
Michael Vega, Boston Globe: He took one look at the box score, winced at the goose egg beneath the column that read “3P,’’ and resolved to report to practice yesterday to address the issue the only way he knew how. ‘I got up a million shots,’’ Lewis said after practice at the RDV Sportsplex. ‘I’ve got to learn to do my part. I’ve got to knock down open 3-pointers in order to bring the defense out.’’’
Ron Borges, Boston Herald: Perkins may well play Howard better than anyone in the NBA because he uses a simple formula: Hold your ground like an oak tree in a blizzard and, if they let you, hold your man, too. ’Every night, that’s Perk,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘He’s the tackling dummy. He’s an offensive lineman in football. He doesn’t get credit but what he does is just as important as a jump shot. Most people don’t appreciate how hard it is to do what he does. He goes out and guards the guy he’s guarding. We rarely have to double-team a big (because of Perkins’ presence and defensive skill). Once you have to start double-teaming in this league, you’re done.’”
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