A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Jermaine O’Neal spent about 20 minutes on the Boston Celtics’ practice court on Monday. And the results were, uh, just what he expected. ‘I was as rusty as I thought I would be,’ O’Neal told CSNNE.com. Considering he hasn’t played in a game since Nov. 8, being off his game was a given. But just being able to run up the floor, and feel little to no pain afterwards, was yet another indication that he is moving past the left knee injury that has sidelined him for the last 12 games. ‘Hopefully in the next week-in-a-half to two weeks, I’ll be playing no problem,’ he said.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Bradley has battled an ankle problem and is just starting to get in rhythm. After a slow start to his NBA career, things are moving rather quickly. ‘When my name is called, I’m kind of shocked sometimes,’ he said. ‘But it’s definitely exciting. And the coaches are always saying, ‘Whenever your name is called, just be ready.’ That’s the main thing I’m thinking about, just going out there, being ready and playing hard.’ He’s playing hard, but not yet instinctively. Where he will soon become more fluid offensively, one can almost hear Bradley thinking when he has the ball. As a result, he’s made just 2-of-9 shots — his first NBA field goal coming on a jumper with 7:26 left Sunday. ‘I think I’m hesitating,’ he said. ‘I usually would take the shot, because in college I shot more. But now I’m trying to look for my teammates more. Then it’s like, I’m way open so shoot it. But then it’s last minute. I think it’s more knowing what to look for, and that comes with the reps — me playing a little more and knowing what teammates can and can’t do. So I’m learning every single day. I try to watch Rondo even though we’re very different players. I just try to watch him as much as I can. He knows the game so well. But I just need to watch more film and get reps in, and I think I’ll be fine. Doc (Rivers) just told me to go out there and play my game.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘[Sunday's minutes were] huge for [Bradley],’ said Rivers. ‘You can see there’s a lot of work to do offensively, he just doesn’t really know what to look for at times. But, listen, he was not even a point in college. He was more of a 1-2, so it’s going to take him time to run a ball club. Defensively, I’ve been saying this, he can play in our league. He can play in the in-between game with offensive shots. But as far as running the club, that’s going to take a little while.’ His surgically-repaired ankle still isn’t 100 percent, but the combination of tape and a brace are helping him get through. Bradley believes his athleticism will jump up a notch as that ankles near full health and he’s only going to look more comfortable as he learns more of the playbook. Until then, he’s going to stay ready and get by on his natural talents. ‘Teammates always tell me, whenever [Rivers] calls your name, just be ready,’ said Bradley. ‘That was my thing, go out there and play hard.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘We’re playing good,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘But we feel like we’re going to be playing our best basketball probably later in the year because of the injuries.’ Since 2007, the Celtics have been notoriously fast starters. The first season the Big Three (Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen) were together, they started 29-3. The year after that they started 27-2. Last season, it was 23-5. It was around this time last season when some of the screws started falling off the machine. Marquis Daniels went down with a wrist injury. Pierce missed the Christmas Day game with a knee infection. From there, no one seemed to be immune. Glen Davis sprained his ankle. Rondo was hampered by hamstring issues. Garnett hyperextended his right knee. Spasms flared in Allen’s back. All the nagging injuries slowed the freight train dramatically. ‘Last year was last year,’ Rivers said. ‘I don’t know what you can learn from that. We got hurt. Last year, Kevin got hurt, I mean we got injured. So yeah, if we get injured, then we’ve got problems, but I don’t really think about it that much.’”
Fred Kerber, New York Post – “Sources close to the court maintained the Celtics (16-4), playing without Rajon Rondo (hamstring) then sitting Shaquille O’Neal (sore right calf) after halftime, almost broke a sweat in the second half in dealing the Nets their worst beating of the season. Nate Robinson filled in for Rondo and scored 21 points. ‘When I shoot, I feel I can make every shot,’ Robinson said. ‘I feel like I can’t be stopped.’”
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