The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “The focus may have been on the Heat nationally, but the Celtics used the opportunity to reassert what they are all about. Teamwork, passing, trust. These are their hallmarks and they stood in stark contrast to the hilarious, but unseemly, images of Pat Riley jotting down notes and staring blankly at what was unfolding on the court. The win puts the Celtics at 7-2 on the young season and they are off to the requisite strong start that Doc Rivers asked of them during camp. They have proven that last year’s playoff run was not a fluke, or an example of catching lightning in a bottle. They have also proven, at least for now, that the Heat are nowhere near their equal. The 2007-08 Celtics didn’t lose their fourth game until Jan. 9 of that season, which should serve as another reminder of that special season. Maybe the Celtics made it look too easy, or maybe they were (and are) just that good. Whatever the case, this night belonged to the Celtics, and it was owned by Allen, which is where we’ll begin.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “It’s why Glen Davis could be heard bellowing about ‘spanking’ the Heat as the doors to the visitors’ locker room swung open following Thursday’s game. It’s why Paul Pierce appeared to spew some 140-character trash talk toward LeBron James & Co., Tweeting postgame: ‘It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to South Beach now on to Memphis.’ Given his dissatisfaction with anything that’s mocked The Decision, it’s likely that Pierce’s words won’t go over well with James. But before taking to the keyboard, even Pierce admitted these two early season wins will have little effect moving forward. ‘We’re going to be a different team in January; they’re going to be a different team in January or February,’ said Pierce. ‘We have a two-game advantage, you never know when it might come down to the record. At the end of the year, if we have similar records, these two games are going to mean a lot then. It’s good now, but both teams have a long way to go. We’re still trying to get healthy, with Jermaine [O'Neal out indefinitely], Delonte [West] coming back [from suspension], and [Kendrick Perkins recovering from ACL surgery]. It’s good to get these wins right now. We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. A win now, over Miami, if it’s going to mean anything come April … it’s knowing that, if we were in this situation, you can can come down here and get a win.’”
Jackie MacMullan, ESPN – “The point guard was clairvoyant. Rajon Rondo doesn’t talk much, but he sees plenty. Before the Miami Heat suffered another big-time, big-game meltdown against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, before Rondo dropped 16 assists on the star-studded (and noticeably sagging) South Beach caravan, before he spurred his team on to 60 percent shooting in the first half, he calmly predicted Miami would have no answers for him. He also hypothesized they would make a concerted effort to squelch his creative juices by throwing a variety of defenders his way, including the one Rondo feared most — LeBron James, the 260-pound power forward. ‘He’s like Kobe,” Rondo explained before the sufficiently hyped Celtics-Heat rematch that Boston won 112-107 at American Airlines Arena. ‘He can give me space and still challenge my shot because of his incredible wing span. But if they put LeBron on me, who guards Paul? Who guards Ray?’ … The Heat will get better. Their chemistry will develop and they have enough talent to become a legitimate threat. In the meantime, don’t mind Rondo and the Celtics if they move on and start concentrating on teams that are ready to challenge them now. The point guard sees what could be with this Celtics team. He knows they could win it all. And this time, his fingerprints will be all over it.”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports – “The Celtics were machinery. They beat up the Heat, obliterated them on the boards and bludgeoned them in a 112-107 victory. The Heat were never close, a late fool’s-gold rally that never truly threatened the Celtics. No one exposes the flaws of these Heat like the Celtics with their brilliant passing, precise shooting and ferocious physical play. Boston believes it can bully these Heat, believes they’re susceptible to games of the mind and body. When it was over, Big Baby Davis marched out of the showers and declared, ‘No one can spoil this night. Good for us to come in and spank that ass.’ As the Celtics hung around town for a couple days before the game, they loved hearing the Heat lament about how tough teams had been on them, how they’d been targeted for physical play. So, the Celtics started laying out Miami players with forceful screens, flagrant fouls and crushing shots at the rim. They harassed Wade into missing 10 of 12 shots and made James work for his 35 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. All these Heat isolations are reducing Wade to an offensive sidebar, the death of ball movement turning these Heat into something so eerily familiar with the Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron, and four guys watching LeBron.”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “The team is taking a public beating. Once expected to challenge the 1995-96 Bulls NBA record of 72 wins, such a prediction is now laughable. The Heat now have the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference, and four of their five wins have come against New Jersey, Philadelphia and Minnesota. ‘It’s reality now,’ James said. ‘Initially when this team was put together, we were excited. We know how good we can be. These tests right here show us how far we got to go. Right now, we’re talented enough to play against these teams, but the chemistry level isn’t up to these better teams in the league right now. That’s why it’s difficult for us to stay on point throughout the game.’ Four losses in the first nine games have forced South Florida to pull the plug on the party music and seriously ponder whether the Heat can become title contenders. ‘We know it’s going to be a process, and that’s the No. 1 thing we keep harping on,’ James said. ‘It can be frustrating because there’s a lot of guys here with pride, a lot of guys here that want to win. You get to a point where you try to rush the process. We just can’t do that. We’re talented enough to win some games, a lot of games. But no matter how much talent we have, this is a team game.’ … ‘This team [the Celtics] is the team to look at and say, ‘That’s where we need to get to,’ ’ Wade said. ‘They’re the best team in the East. They got two on us right now. We are 5-4 and we can’t run from it. I think we’re better than 5-4. We’re the best 5-4 team in the league, how about that? But we’ve got a lot of work to do.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – Jermaine O’Neal on not re-signing with Miami: ”‘Obviously my decision came very early in July. I started communicating with other teams fairly quickly. I don’t know whether that was something they wanted or something they didn’t want. I know at the end of the day when I walked away from American Airlines Arena after meeting with coach Riley, you know, he told me what he was trying to do, and I told him what I was trying to do. And after that, things just happened.’ O’Neal agreed to terms with the Celtics on July 8, the same day James told the world he was leaving Cleveland for Miami. As was the case with the Celtics in 2007 when they traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce [stats], the Heat still had to solidify the supporting cast. O’Neal insists he was part of that process. ‘You know, sometimes you can wait too long,’ he said. ‘And I felt like when I had an opportunity to put myself in a position where I knew it was a major group of guys that were coming back that just came off the Finals, I felt like I probably would fit in more with those guys.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “He dribbled on the left wing in the second quarter, waiting as everyone else on the floor raced past him. He could have made any number of bad passes — a bounce pass to Kevin Garnett or a skip pass to Paul Pierce. He waited, and when Ray Allen finally sprinted behind him, Rondo simply handed the ball off for one of Allen’s seven 3-pointers. ‘Patience,’ Rondo said, trying to explain it. ‘Knowing what’s about to happen. Seeing the play before it happens. It’s not easy. That’s the kind of chemistry [we have]. I know where Ray’s going to be, I know where he wants the ball. I can almost throw some blind passes once in a while.’ ‘He had so many big plays with his passing,’ said coach Doc Rivers. ‘The handoffs. He’s faking and throwing balls. He does things that you just don’t see with the ball. His vision is amazing.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Allen was the result as much as a catalyst. Rajon Rondo [stats] had two fewer dishes (16) than the entire Miami team. ‘Ray was unbelievable on both ends,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘He had a great defensive night (against Wade). But when you make shots like that it takes a team, and I just thought our ball movement was incredible. Ray benefited, and he made the shot, but we had 20 or 30 plays where there were six, seven, eight or nine passes in the possession. The ball was hopping, it didn’t stick, and that’s what we talked about yesterday in general. We didn’t talk about playing Miami – we talked about a good Celtic team is a great ball movement team, and tonight it was unbelievable. They found guys to the last second. They just kept looking.’ And again the Heat struggled. Wade, with eight points on 2-of-12 shooting, suffered the most. ‘We had a couple of great plays tonight where everyone touched the ball,’ Rondo said. ‘We did a great job of executing. One thing that comes from being together for so long is that we take advantage of every opportunity. We’ve had a couple of games like this now. It’s just how we can move the ball sometimes. We’ve already had a 33-assist game this year, so we can do this.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Paul Pierce was pumping premium gas into Ray Allen. Coming out of the tunnel at halftime, Pierce walked shoulder to shoulder with Allen, barking into his ear. ‘He was averaging 25 points!’ Pierce yelled. ‘He’ was Dwyane Wade. The reason Pierce was reciting Wade’s scoring average was because Allen had held the Heat’s franchise player to no first-half points on 0-for-6 shooting. ‘It’s just one of those things that you always see guys talking to themselves and you think that they’re crazy,’ Allen said. ‘But there’s that inner demon that we all have inside of us to make sure that we stay focused. Just paying attention to small things.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Allen connected on 13 of 23 shots, including 7 of 9 trifectas, for a game-high 35 points over 41 minutes of action. He was virtually unconscious over the first three frames, connecting on 10 of 15 shots, including his first six 3-point attempts, for 26 points through three quarters, then still found a way to chip in nine points in the final frame to seal the win. Does Allen ever wonder how he gets so open? ‘All the time, I wonder it,’ he admitted. ‘Any time I’m open, I wonder it. It’s not easy — it’s easier said than done, me getting open. It seems like a cycle of events that take place, especially when Rondo’s penetrating the paint like he is. At any time, we’ve got four shooters on the floor, so you almost have to give something up. I’m the furthest away from the basket, but I’m also the one guy you don’t want to leave open.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘Shaq looked good,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘But the fouls hurt and he didn’t play a lot. We needed minutes. For me, Shaq and Semih were heroes for us because we just needed minutes from them. And I didn’t care if they didn’t play well for us. They both did, but they had to play for us to win this game.’”
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel – “‘Tonight, they simply out-executed us and carved us up and exploited us,’ Spoelstra said. “And it paralyzed us. We’re better than this. Our guys understand that and we’ve just got to continue working to get better.’”
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