The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
(Devin Harris: “Everyone calls [Dirk] Larry Bird.” Me: “Please don’t insult the Legend, Devin ‘Cedric Maxwell’ Harris.”)
Peter May, ESPN Boston – “The Celtics aren’t quite sure yet what they have in rookie Semih Erden. The early signs, however, are encouraging, which could make the 7-foot Turkish center the first international player of import on the team in the past 15 years. A few international players have passed through Boston since Dino Radja nearly averaged a 20-10 season in 1995-96. (We are not counting internationals who played collegiately in the United States, such as Vitaly Potapenko, Ramon Rivas or Jerome Moiso.) There was Zan Tabak for 18 games in 1997-98. There was the immortal Bruno Sundov for 26 games in 2002-03. Czech Republic star Jiri Welsch, of whom big things were expected, played two unremarkable seasons (2003-2005) and was traded. It seems unthinkable that the Celtics have gone so long without a significant international, especially given that the franchise was at the vanguard of signing such players 20 years ago, when it really was the ‘Wild, Wild, West’ overseas. … The great ‘what if’ international story in Celtics history centers on the 1998 draft. Rick Pitino had gone over to Europe to work out a German teen named Dirk Nowitzki. He came away understandably smitten by the 7-footer and thought he had the inside track on Nowitzki. The Celtics held the 10th pick that year and Nowitzki was still on the board at No. 9. But Dallas engineered a deal with Milwaukee and the Bucks took Nowitzki at No. 9, then traded him to Dallas. The consolation prize: Paul Pierce, who went No. 10. He was a Californian.”
Sekou Smith, NBA.com – “I can’t remember the last time I saw a team use the agony of defeat as well as the Celtics have to reconstitute themselves and spur their quest for 18. This is the sort of knock-me-down-I’m-getting-back-up psychology that was used routinely in the 1980s and even the 1990s, when the Lakers and Celtics battled regularly in the NBA Finals and the Eastern Conference champion always faced a gauntlet to get to the top (Boston ceded the throne to upstarts in Detroit who ultimately were dethroned by Chicago). It probably seems extreme to some people for the Celtics to carry on the way they have about that Game 7 loss. But not here at the hideout. We love it. There’s no motivation as pure or pungent as vengeance. It’s worked for centuries. Empires have risen and fallen on less.”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports – “The Players Association plans to contest the NBA’s efforts to curb player complaints about the league’s officiating, union executive director Billy Hunter said Thursday. ‘The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf,’ Hunter said in a statement. ‘We have not seen any increase in the level of ‘complaining’ to the officials, and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behavior toward the officials. Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the Players Association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Luke Harangody fit the rookie stereotype: anxious, hectic, head spinning from his first NBA experience. He missed 5 of 6 shots in the Celtics’ preseason opener against the 76ers last week. He missed 3 of 4 the next night against the Nets. He missed all three shots he took against the Raptors last Sunday. He was moving at warp-speed, and Robinson — known to floor it at times himself — pulled him aside. ‘Gody, he’s on that rookie thing where he doesn’t want to make a mistake,’ Robinson said. ‘I told him to just play basketball. You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s how you play through them. The first couple games, he was kind of nervous, kind of shaky. Then he knocked down a couple shots and he started playing relaxed and I told him, ‘Play your game that you were playing at Notre Dame,’ and he’s been doing a hell of a job.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Without a lot of mystery surrounding these Celtics, much discussion will be spent on who gets to start at center in Kendrick Perkins’ absence. But we’re talking about just one position, and it’s obviously down to Shaquille O’Neal (bigger body to possibly free up Kevin Garnett more) or Jermaine O’Neal (better equipped to get up and down the floor with Rajon Rondo). A more intriguing question regards the makeup of the quintet that will finish games. There are a number of combinations the Celts, in Toronto tonight for their sixth of eight preseason games, can use. And in each case the group will be laden with All-Stars. ‘That’s the beauty of the team,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘We can put five guys not named Paul Pierce out there at the end of the game and win the game. That’s realistic. I’m not just saying that. The guys that we put out there are going to be more than capable of finishing. I just hope I can earn me a spot out there at the end of games.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Nobody is safe from the comical wrath of this team, not even Ray Allen who was on the short end (pun totally intended) of a Nate Robinson joke about the time Allen dyed his hair blonde. Allen got a chuckle or two out of it, as did his teammates. Seeing Allen in a relaxed state is a rarity. But he’ll be the first to tell you, he totally gets the need to balance being serious with the desire from time to time, being silly. ‘When it’s time to lock in and pay attention to the game plan, then everybody needs to focus on what we’re trying to do,’ Allen told CSNNE.com. ‘But you know those other times when you can relax some. There’s nothing on the board. No coaches are in here, so you can laugh a little bit. You have to take advantage of it.’ Even as the laugh tracks continue to pile up for this team, Allen doesn’t worry about the team losing sight of what this season is ultimately about — the chase for Banner 18. ‘There’s a line that you draw in the sand when it’s time to play basketball,’ he said. ‘You have to have fun. You have to have down time.’”
Got a tip? An article you think should be included? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @CelticsTown.