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 – “As one center returned, another got a break as Shaquille O’Neal sat out Saturday’s practice. ’It’s just his hips,’ said Rivers. ‘That will be an issue on and off at times [throughout the season]. He got rest today.’ Which was good news for guys like Erden. ‘We got tried of Shaq beating up all of our centers, so we gave him the day off,’ joked Pierce. ‘[The Celtics got Shaq] in the weight room, just worked out, get his body right. It was a chance to get Jermaine back on the court today, which is a plus for us. It’s the preseason, we can take caution with our bigs. Today was a good day for him to rest.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “Jermaine O’Neal missed the first two exhibition games, victories over Philadelphia and New Jersey last week. ‘It’s very good having JO back out there,’ Garnett said. ‘If we’re going to be anything this year, we’re going to need his contributions.’ Said O’Neal, ‘I expect to play, don’t know how much. I think the great thing about this situation that’s different than the last three or four years, if you tweak something, it’s not a major rush to get you ready. And the chemistry in the locker room is so great you don’t feel the need to rush. I felt eager, but I knew the importance of taking my time and getting healthy. That’s one of the reasons why I signed, because they had the depth. We don’t want to absorb 82 games of pounding. You want to do your job and get out of there. If there’s injuries or whatever, you know you have somebody behind you that’s capable of doing the job — that’s one of the special things about this team. I haven’t played with the guys in a real game situation. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some easy shots off. It’s been very difficult to get off shots in practice, because of the defensive level and the competitive nature and the very prideful nature we have.’”
Evans Clinchy, NESN – “Jermaine O’Neal took the floor Saturday and worked hard in practice with the C’s starting five. So, Jermaine, how does it feel? ‘Tired,’ the Celtics’ center said. ‘I was tired today. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and you’ve got to be able to build. My hamstring felt good, it felt really good. I look forward to getting back on the court. I haven’t been able to play with the guys in a real game situation, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some easy shots up. It’ll be good to see somebody else outside of the guys on our team.’ … ’It was very good having J.O. back out there,’ Kevin Garnett said. ‘You know, if we’re going to be anything this year, we’re going to need his contributions. He looked really good today. He was explosive. It was a good day.’ ‘He was good,’ Paul Pierce said of O’Neal. ‘Just getting a chance to get him up and down the court, get him implemented into some of the things that we’re trying to do, it was good. He hasn’t yet played in a preseason game, so it’ll be nice to see how he works with us out there during a real game.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Rookie Avery Bradley, in one of his biggest steps yet in recovery from ankle surgery, also worked out with the team for the first time. ‘I felt pretty good,’ said Bradley, a rookie guard from Texas. ‘My teammates helped me out a lot, but sitting on the sidelines I kind of knew the plays – the defensive schemes and the offense. So I felt comfortable. I was just anxious to get out there. But I felt good.’ Knowledge is one thing. Execution is another. ‘It’s different sitting on the side and actually getting on the floor to get the reps in, but I was comfortable,’ Bradley said.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “The first time Paul Pierce stepped onto the field at Fenway Park was pretty magical and he clutched the Larry O’Brien trophy as the 2007-08 world champion Celtics made a victory lap around the hallowed baseball grounds. It seemed like the next visit could hardly live up to the initial tour. But when Pierce and his teammates gathered at the lyric little bandbox Friday — the idea of bringing another world title back there next June in mind — he came away gushing about a team-building exercise that allowed the Celtics to enjoy a intrasquad game of softball in the shadow of the Green Monster. ’That was my second time on the field at the stadium, but that was one of the best days of my life, actually,’ Pierce revealed Saturday after Boston’s afternoon practice. ‘That was a fun day, man. Y’all had to be there to know what I’m talking about.’”
Evans Clinchy, NESN – “‘Rondo was voted the MVP by far,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘They said it wasn’t even close. And Jermaine O’Neal they said was terrific, too.’ … O’Neal was an unlikely hero — coming off of a hamstring injury and having to request a ‘designated runner’ to help him through the game, the Celtics’ center managed to silence his critics and emerge as a softball stud. ‘It was a little bit personal for me, because they took me second to last in the draft,” he said. “I wasn’t very happy about that. So I was the first one to take it yard. First at-bat of the game, I took it yard. Probably the longest distance of the day. I felt pretty good about that.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “MVP honors went to Rondo, according to Doc Rivers. He wasn’t the only one to impress, either. In spite of being drafted second-to-last, Jermaine O’Neal emphasized that he ‘went yard’ and noted Von Wafer did as well. President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, also made a standout play. ‘Danny Ainge took a dive,’ said O’Neal. ‘It was a Gold Glove moment where the ball was hit extremely fast and he dove for it and actually caught it to try to make a play at first. … Even though you’re drafted, 30 years later you don’t expect him to make that kind of play. It was funny because he made the play and then made it look easy.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “But the experience of actually playing a game of softball at Fenway apparently counted for more. … ‘We sure as hell didn’t do it in Minnesota,’ said Garnett. ‘I haven’t heard about anything else in the league, nor do I care. We’re having a blast, man. We come in here and bust each others’ (butts), we go at each other pretty hard. And off the court we relax and try to get to know each other.’ Jermaine O’Neal, who has played in the past for Indiana, Miami and Toronto, is similarly at a loss for a parallel experience. ‘To be honest, the things we’ve done together so far are things that build a championship team,’ he said. ‘You can do X’s and O’s all day long, but I’ve never played softball with a team. I’ve never gone to a movie where the team goes, and the staff and coaches. The duck boat rides, the lunch before that. As a player who has been around for a long time it becomes about other things, and when it becomes about other things a team doesn’t win,’ said O’Neal. ‘But we came together as a group, and guys are really pushing each other and letting each other know they’re for each other. That’s what’s great about this process so far.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “The fact that the Celtics gathered at Fenway Park on their off day for an impromptu softball game is perhaps less noteworthy than the identity of the organizer. That would be Rajon Rondo, who has been criticized at times for not knowing when to assert his authority as the team’s point guard in a room full of Hall of Famers. ‘It was Rondo’s deal,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘It was great. The Red Sox are great to us. They gave us the field and we went out and played.’”
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