The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Jermaine O’Neal said he plans to play against the Mavericks, but his bothersome left knee may keep him out of the lineup. He told CSNNE.com following Boston’s 92-83 win over Oklahoma City that he recently had a ‘minor procedure’ performed on the knee. ‘It’s just one of those situations, you’re going to be banged up,’ O’Neal said. Even after the procedure, O’Neal said the knee is still in a lot of pain. ‘That’s why I’m looking forward to just making it through this next game,’ O’Neal told CSNNE.com. ‘After Dallas, we got a few days in between before we play Miami [on Thursday]. That’ll do my knee a lot of good.’”
John Rohde, The Oklahoman – “‘They’re a title-contending team,’ Brooks said of the Celtics. ‘In order for us to play against elite teams, we really have to play good basketball for 48 minutes.’ Brooks considered it another lesson learned, and it was not due to a lack of trying. ‘Playing against the Celtics, they make you look at yourself in different ways because they challenge you in so many ways,’ Brooks said. ‘They’re a physical team, they’re smart, they’re aggressive. They know how to play, but they’ve played a lot of basketball. We want to get there one day.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Oh, Ray Allen had 19 points, Paul Pierce threw in 17, and Rajon Rondo [stats] had 10 points and 10 assists. But when the game was on the line, it was Glen Davis, Semih Erden and Nate Robinson that most helped secure a 92-83 Celtic victory. ‘They saved us,’ said Doc Rivers. ‘Semih, Nate and Baby – that whole group – they were absolutely terrific. They won the game for us. They went from a six- to, what, 15-point lead with our bench on the floor. We got stops and we executed. And Nate was terrific.’ Throw in Marquis Daniels, too. He had all seven of his points late in the first quarter, and he played perhaps the best defense on Kevin Durant, who got most of his 34 points elsewhere. … ‘We came out in the first half and played as well as a team can play,’ said Rivers. ‘We were defending. We kept them off the glass. We played with great energy. We were running the ball up the floor. We were getting into our offense early. And then we did the exact reverse in the third quarter. We relaxed. We just kind of let them play. They’re too good to let your guard down, and we did that – and a veteran team should never do that. We got away with it. Even though we won by a big margin, you can’t do that.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘That’s our whole thing: the bench mob,’ said Daniels, who had a pair of layups late in the first quarter to spark a 12-4 burst that rallied Boston out of a three-point hole — the Thunder’s largest lead of the night — that ultimately became a 21-point halftime advantage. ‘We want to be the best bench, regardless of whether the starters are playing great or not. We want to pick them up. Like Nate was saying earlier [this year], we’re a tag team. He helps [Rajon] Rondo; I help Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen], and so on. We’ve got each other’s backs.’ Boston’s bench had been outscored 159-126 through the first five games of the season, forcing the Celtics to lean heavily on their starters to pull out wins. But that production has spiked the past two games. Boston’s reserves outscored their Chicago counterparts 37-19 in Friday’s overtime win, while Oklahoma City’s bench mustered a mere 12 points Sunday. What’s more, it was the Celtics’ second unit (playing alongside Allen) that was on the floor at the start of the fourth quarter and stretched a tenuous six-point lead to a 17-point cushion in a mere four-minute span.”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “Glen Davis is good enough to start for most NBA teams. In his four years in the league he has figured out how to score in the post and on the perimeter. He’s a willing defender, if a little undersized, and what he lacks in height he makes up for in terms of hustle and an underrated ability to get off the floor more quickly than his opponents. There’s no reason Davis couldn’t average 15-18 points and eight rebounds a night, but that wouldn’t make him a better player than he is right now, with his 13 points and five rebounds. Right now, Davis is a fantastic role player playing a very important role. He’s shooting over 57 percent and playing more frontcourt minutes than anyone on the Celtics after Kevin Garnett. Rivers loves to pair his shooting ability with Garnett and the rest of the starters at the end of games because it forces the defense to cover everyone on the court and he is one of the few frontcourt players who can run with Rajon Rondo. In a contract season, he came into this year wanting to know what his role was and after seven games it is very clear. He is the Sixth Man, the most important reserve the Celtics have, especially with injuries to Shaquille O’Neal and Kendrick Perkins, and by the end of the year he may be the best one in the league.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Shaquille O’Neal is looking to get back into the fray soon. He went through yesterday morning’s shootaround, saying afterward he hopes to play before the team returns to Boston. He was kept out last night, but he’s a possibility tonight in Dallas. If not then, Shaq says he wants to play the last two games of the trip, in Miami on Thursday and Memphis on Saturday. O’Neal hasn’t played since being run into by Amare Stoudemire in the Celts’ Oct. 30 win over the Knicks. The right knee soreness has decreased to just an area near the top of his calf. ‘I feel a lot better,’ he said. ‘All the pain is gone except one little spot, so hopefully that clears up.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘We’re winning the games, and that’s one thing I will say, in this league, everyone loses leads,’ said Rivers. ‘Not the way we did today. The other games, it was more our execution, I thought we had good focus. Today, it was just us. We got up on a great team, then you have to keep playing that way to win the game and stay up, and we kinda let up. You can get away with that against a lot of teams, not with a team with [Russell] Westbrook and [Kevin] Durant on it. You definitely can’t do that.’ Kevin Garnett realized the starters spoiled a chance to put a great effort together, but took the positives out of the start. ‘I thought the third quarter, we had a little lapse there,” said Garnett. “But they’re at home, we knew they were going to make a run. We could have opened the game up in the third quarter, but for the most part we started the game off solid.’ Added Ray Allen: ‘It does seem like we’ve been holding on, like we’ve been doing what we need to do for the long haul for 48 minutes. That’s the important thing: Just [doing] whatever we’ve been doing to win games. Sometimes it’s not pretty, sometimes it’s not executed the way we want, but that’s the objective.’ Like Rivers said, there’s 75 more games to work out the kinks. The Celtics can win ugly now, then win pretty later.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “The Boston Celtics have seen their share of hurdles this season. And yet here they are, sporting the best record in the Eastern Conference (both the C’s and the Atlanta Hawks are 6-1). ‘If you would have told me having had all the lineup issues we’ve had, and not having Delonte for 10 games, that we would get off to this good a start, I’d take it and not ask any questions,’ coach Doc Rivers told CSNNE.com prior to the Celtics’ 92-83 win over Oklahoma City. What really has him feeling good is despite the impressive start, he sees plenty of room for improvement across the board. ‘We’re far from where we can be, and where we want to be,’ Rivers said. ‘But we’re finding ways to keep winning, which is a good thing.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “With four games left in his 10-game suspension, guard Delonte West stayed behind to do individual work, but he could join the team in Miami. ‘At the end of the day, I think he decided that he could get more work done at home,’ Rivers said. ‘He may join us at some point. My thing was we’re not going to practice until Miami. I told him if he thought he could get more work done at home then he could fly to Miami and meet us.’”
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