The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “But when examining the Shaq equation and how much he’s helped, be sure to factor in how much the Celtics are helping him. Even for a colossus like Shaquille O’Neal, fit is important, too. ‘I knew just from watching him over the last couple of years that he’d be great in our system,’ Paul Pierce said. ‘I just know the way we move the ball, the way we use picks and getting guys in the right situations that he’d be perfect for us. I just look at all the opportunities Perk has had, and I just said that Shaq would be fabulous in those spots. We get him the looks, and he’s just so great at finishing.’ That O’Neal is willing to play his greatest hits with less time on stage speaks to his grasp of the situation. He’s shooting his highest percentage while taking the fewest shots of his career at just 6.8 a game. ‘I had a conversation with (coach) Doc (Rivers) about this,’ Shaq said. ‘The bad thing for me in my career is that I’m going to be known for the 27-10s (points-rebounds). But, you know, you can’t get the 27-10s without taking 15-to-20 shots. ‘But Doc told me straight up, ‘Look, you’re not getting 15-20 shots.’ I said, ‘That’s cool. I understand. At 38, I understand.’ The drop-off is how I’m getting my points.’ Then Shaq added with a smile, ‘I still got it.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “As the Miami Heat continue to stumble toward something that looks like mediocrity — at least in the win column — the comparisons to the first season of the Celtics big three have started again. The Heat are 9-8 and have lost four of five with a three-game losing streak in the mix. The 2007-08 Celtics had one three-game losing streak, in February on a west coast trip, and didn’t lose their eighth game until late January. In retrospect, the Celtics made it look too easy. They made it look so simple, so matter of fact, that by the end it seemed obvious. Kevin Garnett was not only the best defensive player in the league, he was also a selfless superstar. Not just willing to make the extra pass, but hardwired to always look for the open man. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce complimented each other perfectly as scorers off the wing, using different ways to attain the same means. Rajon Rondo turned out to be better than anyone dared to dream and Kendrick Perkins developed from a necessary piece of machinery into a defensive monster. But, in the end, talent wins out and putting Garnett, Allen and Pierce on the same team at this point in their careers was too perfect not to work. Only it wasn’t that simple. Yes, Pierce, Garnett and Allen were ready and willing to make the appropriate sacrifices to achieve this goal, but the point that gets missed is that they still had to actually do it. On the court and in practice, on the plane and in the locker room, they had to make the relationships work. What the Celtics knew, and what the Heat are finding out now, is that it takes more than talent to become a team.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “But with circumstances being what they are — Rajon Rondo playing with a sore left hamstring, Delonte West out indefinitely with a broken right wrist, and Celtics president Danny Ainge saying he doesn’t intend to make a roster move (the Celtics are more than $13 million over the luxury tax threshold) — Bradley may have to be an option. That said, he turned 20 Friday and he only has three full practices under his belt. His ability isn’t a question to coach Doc Rivers, but his handle on the system is obviously missing. Rivers said he probably knows “10 percent of what we know offensively or defensively. But he can play. ‘I think defensively, as a player, I don’t think he’ll be a good NBA player — I think he’ll be a great defensive guard,’ Rivers said. ‘I think he’s ready for that. But as far as our schemes, that’s a whole different subject. But Avery has a chance — and I don’t say this often with young guys — but he has a chance to be a lockdown defender, if there is something like that at the point guard spot.’ Rivers has made use of his rookies this season, leaning heavily on Erden with Jermaine O’Neal fighting knee problems, and going to Luke Harangody last week with the team in a pinch. ‘I have no choice,’ Rivers said. ‘The other night, I didn’t think we were going to have enough players the way we were going.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “The Boston Celtics’ bench players have been outscored by opposing reserves in eight of the team’s last nine games and 11-of-16 tilts overall. On Friday, the Celtics’ bench was outscored by a whopping 63-29 margin, and Boston’s four chief reserves (Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson and Semih Erden) were a combined minus-52 in plus/minus on a night Boston’s starting five was a combined plus-96. A bunch of statistics aren’t needed to tell why this is happening. The Celtics have been playing shorthanded essentially since the start of the season, and the bench hasn’t been able to develop any consistency or rhythm.”
Jessica Camerato, CSNNE – “Some 19-year-old rookies could have been intimidated walking into a locker room and seeing the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Others could have tried too hard to prove themselves. Not Avery Bradley. Growing up in the Bradley home, the most important rule was respect. Avery Bradley Sr., a high-ranking Army official, wanted his son to have respect for others, whether they were his elders, his family, or his peers. Even if the younger Bradley didn’t always understand it, his father’s message stuck. ‘I thought it was just my dad being mean all time, but I guess it was for a reason because it made me a good man today,’ he said. ‘I’m respectful to people and I give it all to him because when I was young, he always wanted us to be respectful and give our all with everything we did. Still to this day, that’s what I do.’ … ‘That attitude translated on to the basketball court. Bradley won a national high school championship and was ranked the top high school player in the country in 2009. After just one season at the University of Texas, he was selected by the Celtics with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. ‘Every time I’d go out, I would really compete,’ he said. ‘I guess I got it from my dad because the Army is so competitive. They’re so serious about everything, so that was my approach when I played sports. I would take everything seriously because that’s how everything was in my household.’”
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