The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “If the Celtics learned anything last season, it’s that regular-season success is not a foolproof measure of postseason potential. But don’t misinterpret that mindset. Rivers has gone out of his way to stress that Boston won’t be satisfied to do what it did last year, playing .500 basketball over the final four months of the season, then flipping a switch while marching to the cusp of an NBA title. No, the Celtics covet as much regular-season success as they can get this season. And their quest began Tuesday. ‘Some of the things [Rivers] stressed [at a team dinner Monday] was that we can’t turn it on like we did last year,’ Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said. ‘There has to be more consistency, so that’s our primary focus, being consistent.’
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “After just one practice, that communication was the first thing that stuck out to Jermaine O’Neal. ‘One thing I saw today was that we are able to talk through everything, no matter what it is,’ he said. ‘If you make a mistake, we have so many veteran guys out here that can make up for the mistake that it works out in the long run. I knew about it, I played against it, I knew how they played. It was very physical, very direct. Everybody has to be on the same page for it to work and we hold everybody to a certain standard.’ It’s only one day, but Garnett said he and Jermaine O’Neal had chemistry. ‘J.O. and I haven’t played basketball with each other, but it felt like we have played with each other, if that makes any sense,’ Garnett said. ‘Just communication and our schemes. I think Jermaine’s going to find out things are a little more simple with the fact that we do help each other. We do share the ball here, and if a guy has it going, then we try to milk that guy. With the veterans that we have, it’s about consolidating the ball and making sure we’re consistent.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Filling in for an injured Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine provides the Celtics with a better option offensively. ‘He has great hands,’ Rajon Rondo told CSNNE.com. ‘I made a couple of bad passes, but he made some great plays in catching the ball.’ O’Neal has indeed shown the ability to score in the NBA, but he’s also proven himself to be a solid defender as well. Still, no one has a true sense of how well his skills will fit with the C’s because injuries in recent years have hindered O’Neal from playing at the All-Star level that symbolized most of his time with the Indiana Pacers. ‘You come to a situation like this and you play for one goal,’ O’Neal said. ‘When you’re coming through this league and you do it for so long and things happen, whether it’s injuries or whatever it may be . . . you tend to miss this . . . this good team chemistry, you miss this championship caliber [team], this championship conversation . . . you miss all of it. I really missed it. I don’t have any predetermined thoughts on what I need to be doing. but I’m going to play hard.’”
Rich Levine, CSNNE – “Most of the confusion actually stems from a conversation I had with Davis about 10 minutes before the quotes that got all the attention, so before we get to the controversial statement, here’s what happened before the cameras arrived and Davis went off. The question was about his jump shot, which was deadly down the stretch in 2009 but disappeared entirely last season. It’s not that Davis lost his touch either; he was just never in a position to use it. But with the addition of Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal, you’d expect this year to be different, so I wanted to know, despite his year-long sabbatical, if he had the jumper ready to go. ‘Most definitely,’ he said. ‘That was one of my most focal points this summer. Last year, with the addition of Rasheed [Wallace] I had to go to the five position, but this year we have power at the five position and a lot of guys that can play the forward spots, so I can go back to my natural position where, the year Kevin went out, I really found a groove.’ He was upbeat and optimistic, and I didn’t blame him.”
CSNNE – “‘When you’re a coach and you have a good group of guys, you want to extend that as long as you can. I have a great group of guys to coach,’ said Rivers. ‘Any team that involves Kevin Garnett on it, you probably should try to coach that team.’ And that is exactly what the players wanted, for Rivers to coach this team. ‘It just seems like me and him [were] meant to be with each other. We got the same birthday, we won a championship together, so it would be hard for me to play for another coach,’ said Pierce. ‘I know Doc wants that feeling back. He wants to get back to the Promised Land — finish on top,’ said Allen, who envies Robinson’s stature of a player who went out with a freshly crafted ring on his finger. With the admiration of his players and the desire to take another crack at an NBA title, Rivers needed only to convince his family. It turned out they were the ones doing the hard sell. Rivers’ children insisted he return to the bench in Boston, using their competitive nature to seal the deal. ‘We have a game in the backyard where we say you can’t leave the floor until you make the final shot,’ said Rivers. ‘That was what my young one said, ‘You didn’t make the final shot, Dad. You got to go back until you make the final shot.’ ‘”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘However good shape you’re in, you’re never in Doc Rivers shape,’ Garnett said following a three-hour session in a gym that was so humid and hot, the coach later compared it to the old Boston Garden. But the conditions weren’t to blame for those who came to a dragging stop on the final whistle of the afternoon. ‘They didn’t hold up very well, honestly,’ Rivers said. ‘There was a lot of talking as you can tell from my voice. We won’t go three hours every day, but we needed it. I don’t think we’re in great shape personally. But I kind of anticipated that. We have to get in better shape.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “At one point during Tuesday’s practice, Boston Celtics big man Shaquille O’Neal yelled at Nate Robinson to get him the ball. Can you blame him? Every stop along his illustrious Hall-of-Fame bound career, the Big Fella has always been a Big Deal. Wherever O’Neal has gone, points — and lots of them — have followed.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “This is not to say that Celtics fans will see the vintage Garnett from five or six years ago. He will, however, be reminiscent of the Garnett who spearheaded the Celtics’ run to the NBA title in 2008. At age 34, Garnett realizes his limitations more than ever, but he is heartened by several factors this season. He is as healthy as he was two years ago, and with the additions of Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal and the development of Glen Davis, Garnett will not be relied upon to produce as he did three years ago. The years of him dominating the paint as a volume scorer and rebounder may have passed, but he should produce more of those vintage KG moments more often. He walked off the court yesterday with peace of mind, less concerned about his knee and more concerned about Shaquille O’Neal distracting him during his media session. He couldn’t stop laughing when O’Neal started dancing behind the camera, and he seemingly hasn’t stopped smiling since he reported to Waltham, Mass., and began working out with his teammates. ‘If you’re speaking on my injuries, I feel better obviously a year later,’ he said. ‘My body feels good, man. I took only one rest today. [Rajon] Rondo and I just kept communicating and talking. It was a good day, man.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “But Ainge believes that if Baby is unsure of his job description, the player has only himself to blame. ‘As far as his role, I think it’s a compliment to Glen that sometimes he plays inside, sometimes he plays outside,’ Ainge said. ‘I mean, (Shaquille O’Neal) knows his role because that’s what he’s always done. Jermaine (O’Neal) and KG (Kevin Garnett) and Glen are guys that sometimes roll, sometimes pop, sometimes play inside, sometimes play outside. That’s the greatness of those kind of guys. I think Glen’s strength is his versatility. That’s why he’s used in different ways. But his role I don’t think has changed that much, because he brings us energy and intensity and great defense off the bench. And whether he rolls or pops or whether he is guarding a center or a power forward, that’s just part of the game.’ … ’Today I was on the floor and playing with Shaq,’ Baby said. ‘Last year I was Shaq. I was the guy who always stayed on the post and battled down there. Today I was so focused on popping. I’ve got to get used to that again. I’ve got to get used to doing the things I did when KG went out. It’s good that I’m versatile. I’m not saying I can’t handle it. When I figure it out and get used to it again, I’ll be fine.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “‘Delonte is huge for us,’ said Celtics captain Paul Pierce, ‘because we lose a guy like Tony Allen — he’s our defensive stopper. We expect him to stop 2 guards, as well as play 1 guard. ‘We haven’t had anyone like that since he left. So I’m excited to get him. I wanted Delonte from the start.’ ‘I’ve grown, I’ve learned how to win, I’ve added a lot to my game,’ West said. ‘I know what I need to do to help a team win. I know who I am out there. And I haven’t even reached my prime yet. That, to me, is the scary thing about it. I think Boston got me at the right time. I’ve definitely learned the point guard duties, how to get the ball to our guys, and also to slow down a little bit. When I started, I was rushing, I always understood the game but I was playing a little too fast. I kind of found my tempo and, like I said, I’ve worked night in and night out to become a complete player. I really don’t have any weaknesses.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Rivers attended the games of his four kids and otherwise lived on the golf course – great therapy, obviously, if you can afford it. But not even those early seasons while he was coaching the Magic in Orlando were as difficult on his mental health. ‘Last year was a hard year,’ he said. ‘It was a hard year throughout. Probably the toughest I’ve gone through. But it was a good challenge. It was a hard year, with a lot of things, but I honestly think that’s what you have to expect. When you coach you have to get yourself into it. So I’m ready to go. Hell, once you decide to go back you get your rest and get ready. I’m ready. I think we have a chance to be special.’”
Steve Bulpett/Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Shaquille O’Neal might take a little getting used to. During one play late in the opening session of training camp yesterday at Salve Regina University, Shaq set a mild-mannered pick on Rajon Rondo, who instantly disappeared from radar. It took several minutes before the Celtics were able to establish visual contact with their point guard. Where Kendrick Perkins is regularly called for moving screens, O’Neal simply sets up and lets his size work for him. Opponents must take a $5 cab ride to get around and by.”
Adam Himmelsbach, The Free-Lance Star – “Former LSU star Chris Johnson has been invited to the Boston Celtics’ training camp. Although the Celtics’ official practices began yesterday, Johnson, who played professionally in Turkey and Poland last year, did not participate. The Celtics are awaiting a letter of clearance from FIBA Europe that will allow Johnson to play, Johnson’s agent, Eric Fleisher said. Fleisher said this is common practice involving players who join the NBA after playing overseas. ‘The request has been made by the Celtics,’ Fleisher said. ‘It has to go through appropriate channels with FIBA, with the Polish Federation and with the team he last played on.’”
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