The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Ryan DeGama, Celtics Hub – “I would argue that at this point in their careers, Pierce and Allen are primarily shot makers, not shot creators (which is not to say they create no shots). But on the offensive end of the floor, they do not make other players better the way they used to. A player’s AST% indicates what percentage of their teammates’ field goals are assisted by the player in question. For example, Lebron James assists 36.8% of his teammates field goals. Kobe Bryant – 25.6%. Manu Ginobli – 25.2%. Carmelo Anthony – 17.6%. Pierce’s figures for the last six years: 23.4, 22.1, 21.8, 16.3, 15.1 and 12.7 this year. Allen: 17.2, 19.0, 14.6, 12.6, 12.3, and 13.3 this year. (Garnett’s are in significant decline as well). Part of the reason that Pierce and Allen create fewer shots for their teammates is summed up in the mere existence of Rajon Rondo. Rondo’s masterful shot creation abilities (a league-leading AST% of 53) means that Pierce and Allen are relieved of the burdensome work of breaking down defenders off the dribble and taking punishment in the paint. Both now naturally gravitate towards spot-up threes, curls for mid-range jumpers and similar shots. In fact, remove the names on the charts above and Pierce and Allen’s numbers are not as easy to distinguish from one another as you might expect. They are, in very real ways, cogs in this offense, not primary drivers of it. Key cogs clearly, but not irreplaceable ones.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Celtics legend Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders nodded when the connection was suggested to him. Then he made the case in strong and eloquent terms. ‘People have a habit of talking about what they consider the negatives,’ he said. ‘In Russ’ case, the negative was that they expected pivotmen to play a particular way. They have to be able to do this — stay in the pivot, stay in close, guard people a certain way. They didn’t have the scope or the imagination to understand that here was a guy who could certainly do those things, but could do so much more. It’s almost as if these people had never seen him play in college — the way he had decimated opponents for two or three straight years. He had controlled entire games.’ Sanders shook his head. Then he continued. ‘It was amazing for me to see how that occurred with Russell and to see it kind of occurring with Rondo,’ he said. ‘Here’s a kid who comes in, and in his second year he takes his team to the championship. All the guards that people are comparing him to now, not one of them has come close to being able to handle a team of vets — older guys — as well as this guy has handled them. And definitely not one of them, whether you’re talking (Steve) Nash, Deron Williams — no matter what guard you’re talking about — has taken their team into a championship situation and won in that championship situation. Not one. I read stuff, and it amazes me how people can talk about him having so far to go, so many levels to reach. He’s been where none of these so-called great guards are ever going to get. He’s been there already. He’s been to two NBA Finals.’”
Jessica Camerato, CSNNE – “Perkins’ goals go beyond returning healthy. He wants to return a better basketball player, too, and is focusing on specific areas of his game. ‘Believe it or not, just more of my jumper, just touch around the 12, 15-foot area,’ he said. ‘If I have a shot, take it, stuff like that. And improving my free-throw shooting (60.4% FT career), that’s been my thing. So I’m trying to drop a few more pounds. I want to lose about 10 more to get down to 260.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “They’re on a winning streak, but they’ve also been in survival mode. ‘We have no conscience of what the streak is,’ forward Kevin Garnett said. ‘We talk from game to game about what we need to do to prepare for that game, and that’s it. We don’t look past teams, we don’t circle teams. We’ve got one game at a time.’ Each streak has been unique. Miami’s beaten all nine teams by double digits, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both averaging more than 25 points per game since a now-infamous team meeting following a stretch in which they lost four of five. The Mavericks have averaged more than 100 points a night. The Spurs won six of their 12 games in other teams’ arenas. The Celtics’ streak originated after an embarrassing loss in Toronto, after which they spent the entire plane ride seething over defensive lapses that gave the game to the Raptors. Since then, they’ve held teams to 86.1 points a night and 41.2 percent shooting, outscoring them by an average of 14.6 points, clamping down so hard on defense that they’ve won even when Paul Pierce has been sick and struggling, the offense has been ice cold, and they have had no choice but to start Turkish rookie Semih Erden at center with both O’Neals out.”
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