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 – “‘When you look back to last year, if we had won a couple more, maybe we’d have had the home court for Game 7,’ Pierce continued. ‘The mindset this year has been, hey, we want to win as many games, beat the teams we’re supposed to beat, and get into a dogfight with the other teams that are great out there.’ So far, after 20 games, you’d have to say, mission accomplished, save for the blips in Cleveland and Toronto. OK, losing at home to an Oklahoma City team without Kevin Durant qualifies and, while we’re at it, blowing the game in Dallas does as well. Come to think of it, they should be 20-0. Shaq is right. They really haven’t been beaten yet.”
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com – “Now, in the twilight — both players are working on what most assume are their final contracts, lapsing after 2011-12 — Garnett and O’Neal have meshed well enough that you start to wonder what it might have been like had they teamed up sooner. … ‘We’d either have eight,’ O’Neal said, meaning championship rings, ‘or we’d have had problems. In my opinion, I don’t think it would work.’ … For Garnett, it was something deeper, more desperate. He had arrived in the NBA as a teenager in 1995, by which time O’Neal already had been to The Finals once and established himself as a staggering force of nature, his impact apparent in the stats, in the standings and on the Richter scale. And after Garnett’s rookie season with the Timberwolves, O’Neal headed west from Orlando to Los Angeles. Soon, all roads headed through Shaq. Or ended there, like Wile E. Coyote pancaking on a painted tunnel. ‘First off, Shaq was winning rings,’ Garnett said the other night. ‘You chase the guys who are winning it. And Shaq was the most dominant big man of my era. I was chasing him. To get the respect. The value in this is, you dethrone the king. I looked at it like, ‘Diesel’s winning rings. You’ve got to dethrone him.’ I really thought, with enough personnel, that I really could do that. I don’t know if that was me being naïve or me just believing in my craft and my team. That’s what it is, that’s how I went at it.’”
Scott Schroeder, NBA Fanhouse – “‘I’ve been out of the game for the last year and a half and it’s been very difficult,’ said Walker. ‘To get an opportunity to play is great. Having an opportunity to get back into the NBA is one thing, but this is also giving me an opportunity to do what I love every day again and playing basketball so I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I’ll try and help get the team turned around and get back to where it needs to be — a competitive playoff team.’ Walker, 34, last played in the NBA during the 2007-08 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, 12 years after being selected by the Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. The veteran forward signed with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2008-09 season but never entered a game during the regular season, leaving a sour taste in his mouth. After nearly two years out of basketball, however, Walker decided to rededicate himself. I had some personal problems going on and a lot of negativity, so I took a little time to gather myself and figure out what I want to do in life,’ Walker said, perhaps in reference to the various financial problems plaguing him the last couple of years. ‘Obviously I want to continue to play basketball. I think I’m still very young, being 34, and I think I can still play for a couple more years. I just want to continue to live out my dream. My dream was to one day play in the NBA and be successful and I think I left the game at the wrong time. I want to leave the game on my own merits. When you leave the game for a year and a half, doors close fast on you, so I want to reopen those doors and hopefully this is the way to do it.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Paul Pierce is used to having his hands full defensively. But he’ll be the first to tell you that Denver’s Carmelo Anthony challenges him in ways few players do. For Pierce, dealing with Melo (6-foot-8, 230) is like dealing with a bigger, stronger version of himself. ‘I put him in the same class of guys who put me in the hot tub after the game — [the Lakers'] Ron Artest and [Miami's] LeBron James,’ said the Celtics’ captain. ‘He’s right there in that class.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Pierce knows how valuable Rondo is on the floor. ‘When Rondo’s not out there, the dynamics of the team change because I’m a guy who gets a lot of stuff off fast-breaks, off of cuts, you know, find and be wide open,’ said Pierce. ‘Then you insert maybe Nate or Marquis [Daniels] and then maybe it’s a different way that I approach the game. I may have the ball in my hands a little bit more. But we’ve played a few games now without Rondo and we’ll make the necessary adjustments. There’s certain plays that we’re comfortable running with Rondo, just because he’s been in the system, and they work great for us and not so well maybe with Nate, but he’s only been in the system for a year and some change. They definitely have two different packages when each of them is on the court, and we’ll see how it all works out, but with either one we feel like they give us something different, being that Nate is more of a shooter and scorer; Rondo, he’s more dynamic with his passing. But if we have neither one of them, then maybe I’ll take over some point guard duties, or it’s time for someone like Avery Bradley to step up, or maybe Marquis.’ But just how pronounced is the difference in Pierce’s offensive production when Rondo is on the court? Consider this: With Rondo this season, Pierce is averaging 28.3 points per 48 minutes, while shooting 55.1 percent overall from the floor, including 51 percent from beyond the 3-point stripe. When Rondo is off the court, Pierce is averaging 19.6 points per 48 minutes, while shooting 39.7 percent, including a mere 6.7 percent from 3-point land.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Although Robinson has done a solid job with the starters, it’s clear there are certain things that the C’s simply do not do when he’s in the lineup instead of Rondo. ‘We lose a lot of the second, third option stuff that Rondo can run, and also the stuff that we hadn’t put in from last year, when we have the right group, Rondo can run that,’ Rivers said. ‘You lose that.’ Rivers added, ‘and on the defensive end, you lose Rondo’s ability to disrupt plays.’ However, Rivers points out that there are definite positives to having Robinson in the starting lineup as well. ‘Obviously with Nate you get spacing,’ Rivers said. ‘You get a better shooter.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Rivers spoke about the passing of his former Marquette coach, Hank Raymonds, whom he credits for helping him become a standout NBA player. Rivers was close with the coach, who died of cancer Monday at 86. Raymonds succeeded the legendary Al McGuire and was coach at Marquette from 1977-83. ‘He was very important for me,’ said Rivers. ‘I flew back probably three or four times this summer just to see him. Honestly, I would not be here without him, in a lot of ways. He saved me as a person. He’s one of those coaches who cared far more about the kid than actually even the program. There’s very few college coaches like that anymore. I wish there was a lot more.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Allen was hugely amused when Perkins and Rondo challenged him to a free throw shooting duel. ‘I don’t know what he was doing,’ he said of Perkins. ‘He came over and challenged me. What was he thinking? You guys have to ask him the next time. But at least they considered me the (standard).’”
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