The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Ken Berger, CBS – “On the second day of practice Wednesday, Garnett had no limp, no brace, and no signs of being the kind of defensive liability he was last season. ‘Night and day,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘I wish he would take a break in practice, but that’s another issue we’ll have to solve. He’s explosive again, especially defensively.’ Rivers must have felt like he was standing in a time machine Wednesday when Garnett grabbed a rebound, threw an outlet pass, and still beat his teammates down the floor. I didn’t see it with my own eyes – that portion of practice was closed to inquisitive observers – but Rivers’ account was believable. ‘He couldn’t do that last year,’ Rivers said. ‘Even if he could, he didn’t think he could.’ For the Celtics, it’s simple: To have any chance of getting past Miami to take another shot at the Lakers, they need Garnett to be the old Garnett – or, rather, the young Garnett. If nothing else, Rivers will settle for the healthy Garnett in his bid to get the Celtics back to No. 1 in the NBA in field-goal defense; they slipped to No. 9 last season. ‘He’ll make or break us,’ Rivers said.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Kevin Garnett, his second season removed from knee surgery, continues to impress with his increased mobility. The Celtics defense should follow suit, according to Rivers. ‘He’s explosive again, especially defensively, and that is great,” said the coach. “He outran guys in our scrimmage at least three times. He got the rebound, threw it out and still outran the bigs, and he couldn’t do that last year. Even if he could, he didn’t think he could, and that was the biggest change. We have (Rajon) Rondo on the floor and Kevin, who can shadow, and we couldn’t do it last year, and that was a huge concession for our defense. In my opinion it put way too much pressure on our defense,’ he said. ‘He was the best team defender in the league last year, even with his injury, because he talks and understands it.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘We have to come to work every day. A year ago, we’d come in and take care of business like the Dream Team against the [second unit]. Now we really have to lace them up if we want to be competitive with [the reserves] each day.’ – Paul Pierce on the Celtics’ bench players, one season ago. … Boston hopes for better results from this season’s group, and track records suggest there is reason for optimism. But Celtics coach Doc Rivers cautioned against getting too excited too soon. When asked if he’s more confident about this season’s reserves, Rivers said, ‘Not yet, but I should be. I think it’s the best bench we’ve had since I’ve been here. But on paper and in games, that’s two different things. It’s a natural fit. D-West and Nate, who’s the point guard? I don’t think either one really [cares]. I think that’s a good fit. Shaq is clearly the 5 and Baby is clearly the 4. I think it will allow Marquis to go to the post more like he should go. Plus, we have two defensive stoppers at the guard spot in Marquis and Delonte, and Nate who can pressure the ball. I think there’s a lot of good things with that unit. Unfortunately, they’ve got to play in a game first, and we’ve got to see if that all works out.’”
Ken Berger, CBS – “To be polite and comprehensive, Rivers mentions the Magic, Bulls and Hawks in the same breath with the Heat as he spits out a list of teams standing in the Celtics’ way before they can even begin to contemplate a rematch with the Lakers. Deep down, he knows better. Everybody does. The Celtics are the defending Eastern Conference champs, but Miami is the target. Pat Riley’s team is the one sitting at the table with the poker face and the best cards. ’We had a goal before July 1 and we had a goal after July 1,’ Rivers said. ‘And it didn’t change. It just made it harder. But like I told them: If you want to win, it should be hard. It’s not going to be easy. Even if it wasn’t Miami, there were going to be challenges; Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, there’s a lot of challenges out there for you. Miami just happens to be another one. Listen, if LeBron doesn’t leave, then there would’ve been a challenge in Cleveland. They just switched the challenge south and made it a bigger challenge.’ A bigger challenge and a better show — the best thing on TV in July and possibly from October to June, too. But not without a challenge of their own; not without the Original Big Three trying to have the last word. ‘We’ll just continue to go at our slow pace and creep up on everybody,’ Pierce said. ‘Everything will be done and said, and at the end of the day, I think we’ll be standing.’”
Gary Washburn/Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “West was the outstanding performer in yesterday’s two-hour practice session, according to Rivers. ‘He ran our ‘slice’ better than our guys that were here,’ Rivers said. ‘Cleveland went to our ‘slice,’ last year, they ran it to the point. And it’s funny, Shaq and Delonte, they knew everything we ran. They ran it because they thought they would play us and it would be better for them to defend it if they ran it every day. If we could have got LeBron [James], it would have been perfect. [West] has matured as a player and he’s played with a great player, so he’s learned how to become a role player. If you play with LeBron, you’re pretty much a role player. And I think that helps you for the rest of your career. West] is an agitator, and to Red [Auerbach’s] dying day, he said, ‘Get as many agitators as you can get.’ I think we’ve added some this summer.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “We will learn when the season begins in four weeks whether there is an immediate reason for concern, but for now Rivers is not focused on the Heat and their acquisitions of James and Chris Bosh. ‘I don’t think it changed us,’ he said. ‘We had a goal before July 1 and we had a goal after July 1, and it didn’t change. It just made it harder, but like I told them, if you want to win, it should be hard. There are going to be challenges, even if there weren’t Miami. If LeBron doesn’t leave, it comes from Cleveland. They just switched the challenge further south and made it harder.’ … ‘I am worried about my team and my guys right now,’ Shaquille O’Neal said. ‘We don’t want to waste time talking about what other people are going to do. We’ve got a great team and some of the best players in the world. Every team is on a mission, especially the ones who know they have a chance to win, like Boston.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Especially in today’s NBA solar system, stars realign all the time. But Pierce is an anomaly in his peer group. The Celtics captain is currently tied for 26th all-time in the NBA with a 22.5-point scoring average. Of those tied or ahead of him, only 10 have played with just one team. And in the free agent era, just five – Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki – fit that bill. And Melo might be with another team by the team this paper hits your doorstep. (Let’s make room in this single-franchise group for Tim Duncan, even though his scoring average isn’t up to Pierce’s. But you get the point.) … Pierce has no doubt the ingredients are in the C’s kitchen. ‘From top to bottom, this is one of the best teams talent-wise I’ve played on,’ he said. ‘I have total confidence in our bench. We say it every day: If you don’t bring your work boots, the second team is going to bust us up. At the end of the day it’s going to make us a better team. If you look across and see Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) matching up with J.O. (Jermaine O’Neal) and the way Baby (Glen Davis) is pushing Kevin, and me and Marquis (Daniels), D. (Delonte) West and Ray, Nate (Robinson) and Rajon (Rondo) – it’s making us a better team. It definitely is a long season, but I think with the presence of Shaq and Jermaine it just gives this team new energy and more focus. Jermaine wants his first title. Shaq wants another one. So the motivation is there. The energy is there. You felt it from Day 1.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Harangody said. “For a player like me, I just need to slow down. It’s only Day 2 of training camp . . . there’s a while for me to go and a lot to learn. ‘It’s a learning experience. There’s still a lot for me to get used to, the speed of the game, and picking up different formations. It’s going to take a little time. You pick a little bit more every day. It’s hard to [be thrown] everything at once, but if you want to get out there on the floor you’re going to have to be reliable out there and responsible for your position.’ Harangody said he is getting into a defensive mind-set. ‘I think you have to if you want to play on this team,’ he said. ‘The first day we walked in here, that’s the overall message they were sending, we’re a defense-first team.’ But Harangody realizes there is a small margin for error. ‘You’re just going to have to do your job on the court, be where you’re supposed to be,’ he said. ‘There’s no screwups for rookies.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Then, as the veterans got in a quick stretch, maybe put some shots up and headed for the sidelines, the younger players were herded together for a spirited 4-on-4 game that quickly drew a crowd, including Ainge and his father, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. For some of the guys in camp, this could be the biggest stage they’ll get to show their worth. Boston already boasts a maxed out roster with 15 guaranteed contracts, and for those battling to get in (or those trying to hold onto jobs at the end of the bench), these pickup games can be important to their future. Wednesday’s action featured Green — Von Wafer (12), Mario West (46), Stephane Lasme (47) and Semih Erden (86) against White — Tony Gaffney (27), Luke Harangody (55), Jamar Smith (40) and Chris Johnson (45) — in a game that often featured more scrappiness than baskets. Wafer and second-round draft pick Harangody probably made the best impressions, each taking a turn carrying play in the early going, and making consecutive buckets for their teams. Defense seemed to carry play or, at the very least, a lack of referees (other than director of player development Tyronn Lue barking from a chair on the sideline) led to a more physical game and, therefore, diminished offense.”
Ken Berger, CBS – “‘I think they’ve gotten a lot of criticism that they didn’t deserve,’ the Celtics coach said Wednesday of the Miami Heat’s free-agent coup. ‘I don’t understand. I think LeBron did everything legal, right? He played it out until he was at the end and he could be a free agent. It didn’t bother me that way. I guess I’m an old-school guy, but it really didn’t bother me in that way. But it bothered a lot of people. For whatever reason, it did.’ And it shouldn’t have, Rivers said – especially for those former players who would’ve done the same thing given the opportunity. ‘We did it, but we did it through trades,’ Rivers said. ‘There were 23 teams when I played. Everybody had a Dream Team for the most part. The reason why a lot of guys didn’t leave is because they had two or three Hall of Famers on their team already. LeBron was in that one place for seven years. So it’s not like he didn’t give it a shot. That’s what I don’t get; it’s almost like he never gave them a chance. He was there for seven years. Some of the guys that have been giving criticism wanted to be traded from their teams back in their day, too. It’s just interesting. Listen, I’m kind of in between because I’m an old guy but I’m coaching these guys, and it is a different league in that way,” Rivers said. “It is scary that a guy can sort of hold everybody prisoner that way, but it’s in his rights. It’s the way the collective bargaining [agreement] is, so he can do whatever he wants to do. And by the way, there’s not a lot of LeBrons. There’s not a lot of players who would be able to do that. There’s not even going to be one a year, and it’s not going to be anything to that magnitude.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Doc Rivers has memories of two Marquis Daniels. The first – the pre-injury version – was perhaps the most versatile player in training camp last season. ‘Post player, he defended everybody, played with high energy – that all went away,’ the Celtics coach said yesterday. ‘It’s in him, we just have to get it back out of him.’ ‘Marquis has a role on this team that we need, but we need assurance that he can do it, and we know that he can do it,’ Rivers said. ‘I told him that before practice. I need him to be the Marquis we had the first month of the season, not the Marquis we had at the end of the year.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Because of his versatility a year ago, Boston used the 6-foot-7 swingman at both guard spots as well as small forward. Now that the C’s have Delonte West and Nate Robinson, Daniels won’t be counted on to be as much of a facilitator as he was last season. ‘That’ll help out a lot,’ acknowledged Daniels. ‘Just run the floor and Delonte and Nate pushing the ball up . . . even sometimes I can bring it up. It just opens it up for everyone.’”
Gary Washburn/Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Marquis Daniels is seeking a fresh start with the Celtics. Part of his new look is his uniform, now No. 8. ‘My eighth year,’ Daniels said of the change from No. 7. ‘New year, new me.’ Daniels was limited by injuries last season, then struggled to return from surgery for a torn tendon and dislocated thumb. Now he is expected to be among the leaders of a second unit that includes Glen Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson, and Delonte West. ‘I always had my confidence, regardless of the situation,’ Daniels said. ‘Unfortunately, I had a little thumb injury that slowed me down a little last year, but I never lost confidence.’”
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