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 – “In a brief conversation as he headed out of the locker room for the team flight to Philadelphia, Rajon Rondo said that he was fine. It’s admirable that Rondo won’t discuss his various injuries and even more admirable that he’s playing through them, and still doing it a high level. He played 30 minutes, took just three shots, rarely attacked the basket and still dished out 13 assists. ‘He was great,’ Rivers said. ‘I thought Rondo was good. Really good. He looked fine. I thought he had it in cruise a little bit, but he was just trying to run the team.’ That’s the difference between the 2010 Rondo and the one from years past. His speed is his greatest weapon and even without it he’s still able to be effective. But Rondo is hurting. Ty Lawson, who in fairness makes everyone look slow, repeatedly got past him. He also came out of the game in the third quarter and stretched out his leg. After a few minutes he walked back to the scorer’s table and checked himself back into the game rather than let his leg get stiff. ‘Him and Nate [Robinson] are actually grinding it out,’ Paul Pierce said. ‘Those two are both having feet problems. We’re just thankful that we get them through right now. We’re trying to get through this tough stretch where one day we get healthy. I don’t know when that day is going to be.’ It may never happen, actually. The healthy part, that is, because it appears that Rondo is going to be bothered by his leg and foot ailments for the foreseeable future. Credit him with playing through it and playing as well as he can, but understand that it’s not easy for him right now.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “He didn’t issue an apology to Charlie Villanueva, or admit to telling the bald Detroit Pistons forward he looked “like a cancer patient” back on Nov. 2, but Kevin Garnett felt bad enough about perception that he tried to set the matter straight with George Karl after last night’s Celtics [team stats]’ 105-89 victory at the Garden. The Denver Nuggets coach survived a harrowing bout with throat cancer, after recovering from prostate cancer in 2005. “I went up to him as a man and said I had nothing personal toward him or any other cancer patients that was out there struggling, dealing with life situations,’ said Garnett. I wanted to say that to him, man to man. I was going to do it before the game, but I (decided) to get the game out of the way, and then approach him.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “He is here because he has persevered in ways that have nothing to do with cancer. He has led the Cavaliers, Warriors, Sonics and Bucks before getting to Denver, and he has been a winner, coming into last night’s game with a .596 batting average from the bench. Doc Rivers called him one of the league’s coaching ‘treasures.’ More than that, Karl is a regular guy. He isn’t afraid to be tough on the rich people he coaches, and he’ll often poke fun at himself. His throat cancer was announced just after last year’s All-Star break, and he laughed a few days later when told the league’s writers wished him well — and that the vote was 53-42. Karl is appreciated by the media not because he is accommodating, but because he is honest. He’s always been a thoughtful person, so it’s hard to picture him changing much in light of the circumstances.”
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe – “George Karl is 55 pounds lighter than he was when the radiation and chemo began, and that’s OK because the important thing is that he’s here to tell the tale. Here’s the difference between the young George and this Hitchcock version: ‘Losing bothers you, but it doesn’t defeat you.’ You’d be philosophical, too, if you went through what George Karl has had to endure. His priorities are quite clear: ‘God, love your family, and kick cancer’s ass.’ Winning a thousand games is nice, but getting out of bed one more time is even better.”
Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post – “Early on in New England, Wednesday’s game looked like it would replicate the Patriots-Jets blowout from Monday night. But the Nuggets clawed back against the Celtics, cutting a 19-point lead to one at 51-50. As the game went on, though, Denver was depleted and Boston (17-4) showed why it has the Eastern Conference’s best record. ‘When you get down like that, you pretty much have to play perfect,” said Billups, who finished with five points and seven assists. “Every shot has kind of got to go in, and this is not an easy team to play against like that. This is a great defensive team, and offensively, they’re just a machine. A machine. They make the extra pass all the time. They play the game the right way.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Rajon Rondo, despite playing at less than optimum speed because of a sore left hamstring and painful feet, still finished with 13 assists. Backup Nate Robinson is playing through chronic foot pain, too, though he claims not to know the actual malady. ‘Something’s up with the guards on this team and their feet, but we just have to play through the pain,’ Robinson said. ‘Rondo has his hamstring and foot, and he’s still going 110 mph. When I go full speed it’s fine, but it’s when you stop that you feel it. But that’s fine. When Doc calls my number I have to be ready.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “Celtics swingman Marquis Daniels injured his thumb in the second quarter of tonight’s game but said he doesn’t think the injury is serious or will cause him to miss time. ‘It hurt pretty good,’ said Daniels. ‘But I’m alright. A little swelling. Nothing a little ice can’t treat.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “But the Celtics continued with the theme that has now built an eight-game winning streak. The run started with a 99-76 win in Atlanta on Nov. 22. ‘We’ve been in a nice little flow defensively,’ said Garnett. ‘Atlanta is the first game I can remember where we were talking. If you were three, four rows from the front you could hear us. I think we’ve been using that game as a road map for where we need to be defensively. I think Doc put us back into that mentality. We play a lot freer, if that’s a word, on defense, and you can see it. That’s pretty much been the road map for however many games we’ve won.’ … ‘That’s who we are,’ said Rivers. ‘Our offense is getting a lot of (attention) because of what we’re shooting every night. But we’re getting stops, and we’re able to run. We’re getting (Rajon) Rondo in the open floor because of those stops. The formula’s not hard, but it’s hard to do every night. And lately we’ve done it every night.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “The Celtics’ second unit was outscored 31-24 in the 2d quarter of tonight’s win over the Nuggets, the only blemish on an otherwise easy win. The Nuggets shot 58 percent in the 2d quarter after shooting 38 percent in the 1st. Davis says it’s his fault. ‘I didn’t lead the second team good enough for just to keep that lead,’ said Davis. ‘I need to adjust, I need to motivate, I need to do something out there. Because I’m the guy that makes the second team go.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “If Rondo had been really, really good, he would have reached or exceeded his season averages of 11.4 points and 14.1 assists. But he played almost 10 fewer minutes than his season average tonight, coming out of the game with 4:38 left in the third quarter and going to the sideline with an apparent injury. Rivers was opaque as usual about Rondo’s injury/lack of injury, and Rondo didn’t talk to reporters after the game. So, to recap: Rondo’s assist numbers were pretty close to his season average despite 10 fewer minutes. Ty Lawson beat him to the basket a few times for 11 points and 4 assists in the second quarter. But Rondo shut down Lawson in the second half, and he shut down Chauncey Billups all game, holding the Nuggets All-Star to 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting. Not a bad night for Rondo after all.”
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald – “But there was Allen last night at the Garden, throwing all the diagrams into disarray. Though the 35-year-old didn’t score his age last night — something he did against the Miami Heat last month down in Florida — his effort in the Celtics [team stats]’ 105-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets was almost as good. Logging 35 1⁄2 minutes, Allen led all scorers with 28 points, hitting on 9-of-14 field goal attempts. ‘He did his thing tonight, which is make sure we won the ballgame,’ said Glen Davis, who was then asked if he believes Allen only gets noticed when he hits a game-winning shot, but not when he has a workmanlike but drama-free game like last night. ‘Ray’s not overlooked on this team,’ Davis said. ‘Ray is a factor. Ray is a key component to this team. He’s a reason why we’re successful . . . he just keeps showing professionalism. When people think he’s at the end of his game, he goes up to a whole different level. That’s what it’s about, mental toughness,’ said Davis, ‘and Ray has all that and more.’ Here’s some statistics about Ray Allen you should know: His career field-goal percentage is 45 percent, but through 21 games this season, his field-goal percentage is even better than that — 48.1 percent. What’s going on here? Has Ray Allen forgotten that, as an aging guard, he’s supposed to be going in a different direction?”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “In a country where it seemingly gets harder by the day to attain general agreement on anything, we give you Kevin Garnett. The Big Ticket isn’t running on a political ticket, but he’s getting strong bi-partisan support. Even people who don’t like him — what up, Joakim Noah? — respect his game. But mostly there is acclaim for the old and improved forward who has taken great leaps, quite literally, since his summer ‘09 knee surgery. ‘Kevin’s been terrific,’ said Celts coach Doc Rivers. ‘It’s really just the KG that I always knew,’ said former teammate Chauncey Billups after Garnett went for 17 points (8-9 from the floor) and nine rebounds in a 105-89 victory over his Nuggets last night. ‘Obviously he makes them so much better. He can just affect the game in so many different ways. And being my partner, I’m just happy to see him back out.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Boston has certainly got a boost from Garnett’s offense, which was once again on display Wednesday night when he tallied 17 points to go with nine rebounds. But the key to Garnett’s game, to the Celtics’ game, remains on the defensive end of the floor. ‘The majority of the mindset is defense; I can really truthfully say that,’ Garnett said. ‘That’s been the premises of what we want to go out and do. And we’ve been actually effective in not just 24 minutes but for 48.’”
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