The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Peter May, ESPN Boston – “He knew. The game was in overtime, every possession was magnified, focus was at a premium — and Paul Pierce knew. He dropped a free throw with 13.3 seconds remaining, then raised his arms as the TD Garden crowd gave him a standing ovation. Twenty-thousand points. He knew he needed 23 to get there, and this was No. 23. Somehow, amidst all the clamor, he knew. Don’t think for a minute these guys don’t know what they need to reach a certain milestone, be it 20,000 points or a triple-double. They do. … But this was a night for Pierce, a night he knew was coming but one that, not that long ago, he had every reason to believe would never happen in Boston. He’s now in the company of Bird and Havlicek, and, as he noted afterward, ‘Just to be mentioned in the same sentence with them is pretty special.’ He’s had a long, sometimes painful and occasionally bizarre history in Boston. But he belongs in any conversation of Celtics all-time greats. He did it the old-fashioned way. He earned it. Maybe that’s why he knew after all.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Not only was Pierce called upon as he has been repeatedly during his career to seal a win, but the first of the free throws would catapult him to a personal stratosphere, 20,000 career points, achieved by only 35 others. This was his ticket to Springfield. And fast-forward to that day, where Pierce dons a crisp suit, bright smile, and strolls to the stage for his acceptance speech, just as he did to the basket during his career. Pierce has traveled at his own pace to greatness, and on a November night he arrived, surrounded by thousands of well-wishers who over time recognized his rightful place in team history. He isn’t Larry Bird or John Havlicek or Dave Cowens. He didn’t win 11 rings like Bill Russell or didn’t lead two unlikely teams to titles like JoJo White. Pierce joined the Celtics during hard times, became the face of a downtrodden franchise, then revitalized his career with the aid of two All-Stars, both of whom were as foreign to team success as he. So now all three reside in the 20,000-point club, but Pierce is the lone one of the Big Three to score each point with one team.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘Coming into the game I knew it, but I didn’t want to press it,’ he said. ‘It was going to happen. But I knew I needed 23 I think tonight to get it. I knew once I got to 22, I looked up and it was a great opportunity to go to the line. As a player . . . you ask players about certain things, they know. Like when guys are close to a triple-double, they know if they need another rebound, they need another point. Whether they like to admit it, the players know.’ Pierce knew he didn’t want to reach the milestone in a loss, so he hit four more free throws to keep the Bucks at bay. Then he dropped a few tears into Boston Harbor. ‘A little bit,’ Pierce said when asked about losing it. ‘It was a little emotional, man. I mean, a lot of people in here, they’ve seen a lot of that 20,000. You know, not a lot of people in NBA history have accomplished that. Just to make history for the NBA is great. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamed I would be scoring 20,000 points in a Celtics uniform. The team was going in a direction, I was a disgruntled player at the time, and to still be here and still be talking about this feat is an incredible moment for me.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Indeed, while Pierce is the fourth player on the Celtics’ current roster to reach the milestone — Shaquille O’Neal (fifth all time; 28,281 points), Kevin Garnett (22nd; 22,332) and Ray Allen (28th; 21,025) are already there — he is only the third lifetime Celtic to reach the milestone — Larry Bird (25th; 21,791) and John Havlicek (11th; 26,395) the others. ’As Paul said, to do it in one uniform is very special,’ said Garnett. ‘Nonetheless, just to do it, it means a lot, man. It means a lot that there are only a select few that are in that category, it’s a very small window of people that are in it. It’s a good list of people to be neighbored by, so congratulations, Paul.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “For all that Pierce has achieved with the Celtics, sticking with the same team for 13 seasons might be his most impressive accomplishment. ‘It makes me think about what I went through in my career,’ said Allen, a 14-year veteran who has played with three different teams. ‘Just how tough it is to play with one team, and have a great relationship. At some points, it does get rocky because you hit those low points where the franchise isn’t winning. Those lean years, he was able to stick it out here and people still stuck behind him and the team. That’s commendable. It doesn’t happen a lot these days in sports.’”
Mike Petraglia, WEEI – “‘Yeah, we just thought we needed to,’ Rivers joked. ‘You know, not execute for about four, five minutes in the game, send it into overtime because we wanted to get it out of the way tonight. It was very important for us. Obviously the win was great. We were awful down the stretch, all of us. [Rajon] Rondo’s feet were bothering him, so he couldn’t handle the ball, and couldn’t get in anything. So we were going through a lot of stuff that last 2 ½ minutes. But the 20,000 point thing is just phenomenal. I can’t comprehend it, for me, what the hell? I saw 20,000 shots from ‘Nique [Dominique Wilkins]. It’s awesome. It really is. I don’t know how many people have done it; I don’t know any of the numbers. But 36 in NBA history, that’s amazing. It really is, when you think about it. That’s awesome, though. How many other guys have done it in one place? When you think about it, on other teams. Karl Malone, I would guess. Maybe. Maybe he got his with the Lakers the last year, who knows? Still, it’s just awesome. Tommy [Heinsohn] – so I’m going to go with Tommy because he knows more Celtic history than anyone – thinks Paul is the best scorer to ever play here. Maybe not the best all-around, but the best scorer. So you can do a Top 10 list tomorrow and work that in.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Garnett apparently is fine too. It took an eruption late in the fourth quarter from the Big Trash Talker, including his second double-technical in two nights, this one involving a run-in with Bucks center Andrew Bogut, to rip the Celtics out of their ineptitude. In Tuesday night’s win at Detroit, Garnett’s rough talk sent Charlie Villanueva onto the Twitter wire. Last night, on the way to converting his first of two three-point plays in the last 2:30 of the fourth, Garnett threw both arms in the direction of Bogut’s chin. Bogut (21 points, 13 rebounds) responded by softly pushing a forearm into Garnett’s chest. Garnett flailed his arms and fell back, and the whistles sounded. ‘I’m a passionate player, man,’ Garnett said unapologetically. ‘I play with a lot of energy. If you like my style of play, this is what you’ll love about me. But it’s a contact sport, too.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Before last night’s victory at the Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks, Rivers corroborated Garnett’s statement while expressing displeasure with players’ use of Twitter. ‘I actually heard what Kevin said. I was standing right there,’ the C’s coach said, ‘and what he released is what he said, so I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t like the whole tweeting thing. I’ll state that as well. I think guys talk on the court. That doesn’t mean they should or they shouldn’t. The fact that we’re talking about this, to me, is just silly. It really is. I used to play, and I can’t imagine us running and talking about what was said,’ Rivers went on, adding sarcastically, ‘I mean, Larry (Bird) has said some terrible things to me, and I’m still hurt by them. And there are times when guys do cross the line, but you get over that, too.’ … ’We obviously know for sure that KG is not trying to offend anybody with cancer,” Ainge said. “I mean, we know that. He’s got a relative right now that’s going through chemo. So we know that that is not the case. It’s just whatever he said, and I believe Kevin, it was only meant for a purpose, and that was to get under Charlie’s skin.’”
Julian Benbow/Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – [Kevin Garnett said,] “‘Control is a mental thing. I’ve got it. I’m trying to do my best to adjust to these rules and I’ll get better at it. I had a little talk with Doc about some things. It’s some things that I know I can do, so I’m not going to worry about that.’ As the game went more haywire, Rivers said he could sense Garnett flying off the rails. ‘I thought he was exhausted,’ Rivers said of Garnett, who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 38 minutes. ‘One stretch, I had to take him out when we were making a run. You know by his body rhythm when he was running, it was time to get him off the floor. He used up some energy today that he probably didn’t want to use.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Upon further review last night, Shaquille O’Neal was given the night off to rest his bruised right knee for the second straight game. The only question is how long the Celtics center will need, and for now that appears to be an open-ended situation with another home game looming tomorrow against the Bulls before the C’s start a four-game road trip Sunday in Oklahoma City. ‘I don’t even know if he’ll play on this upcoming trip,’ coach Doc Rivers said prior to last night’s win over Milwaukee at TD Garden. ‘He didn’t move very well. I don’t think he’ll play (tomorrow). He could, but based on what I saw I don’t think so.’ The Shaq plan is clearly a work in progress, including how many minutes will ultimately be dished out to the big guy each night. … But now the Celtics point guard’s sore feet are starting to suffer. ‘Two times in a row we had Paul (Pierce) bring the ball up the floor because of it,’ Rivers said. ‘But (Rondo) told me after the game that he was fine.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal sat out his second consecutive game due to a right knee bruise suffered in Friday’s win over the New York Knicks. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said O’Neal could either be sidelined for Boston’s entire upcoming four-game road trip (Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami, and Memphis), or he could be back in time for Friday’s game against Chicago. ‘I figured I’d cover all my bases,’ Rivers joked.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Coach Doc Rivers had a laundry list of all the game’s blemishes, particularly the miscues after the Celtics went ahead, 90-84, with 1:20 left in regulation and allowed the Bucks to force OT. ‘It was a lot of stuff,’ Rivers said. ‘We turned it over. Bad shots. Supposed to call a timeout. Didn’t call a timeout. Came out of a timeout and two guys were on the wrong side of the floor. We had two bad switches where they scored in like half a second. We really worked to get that to overtime. But we won the game, so we’ll take the win. It gives coaches an opportunity to point stuff out. So that’s what I’ll do.’”
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe – “The disclosure of Tuesday’s events was a rare window into what goes on between the lines, where the basic rule of engagement is that there are no rules of engagement. Nothing is off-limits. What has changed is that now we find out about vile garbage that dares not speak its name. We never would have known about it in the genteel good old days. Whichever version you believe, it’s tasteless. It’s offensive. It’s way beyond the typical schoolyard, ‘You’re fat, you’re ugly, your mother wears army boots.’ There’s nothing funny about poking fun at cancer. It is a universal scourge. It is off-limits in every arena of mankind. But I can guarantee you that among the ballplayers of the Western world, Villanueva is the bad guy here. He is the one who broke the code.”
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