The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Though Jones won 10 NBA titles as a Celtic, he believes the current team has the potential to surpass all of the old teams. ‘This might be the best Celtics team of all time,’ he said. ‘They’re big, and then you have the shooters outside — Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. You have this guard, Rajon Rondo, he’s unbelievable. These players all contribute to the success of the Celtics. So I truly believe they could win it all. Every time I look at this team I’m amazed at how well they play once they get it going.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Jermaine O’Neal, who has appeared in just 11 games this season, had similar thoughts on the team’s handling of injuries this season. ‘If you want to be a championship-caliber team, you really can’t have excuses,’ he said. ‘The conversation coming into the season, was how deep we are. So do we say now, ‘Kevin’s out for a while, Rondo’s been out,’ do we now say, ‘we should lose?’ No, we shouldn’t say that. All of us have been in positions where we know what it takes to win. Look around our locker room, we’ve got guys who have been around, been in some big-time positions. We just have to do our job better. No excuses.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “He’s not close to offensively being the Jermaine O’Neal of old — one of the best-scoring big men in the league — but that’s not in his current job description. Defense and rebounding, two areas where he’s made sound contributions during the last four games since returning from an 18-game absence, remain his areas of demand. ‘That’s an area I’m familiar with,’ he said. ‘At the same time, we know where our bread is buttered. We still have Paul (Pierce) out there, we still have Ray (Allen), and we have to do a better job of getting them open. As far as the low post and being more involved in the offense, I don’t want to get into that because it’s outside what the team is trying to do and what Doc (Rivers, the C’s coach) is asking me to do,’ he said. ‘His conversation hasn’t changed. If it changes I’ll look into that, but it’s not a problem for me.’ Rhythm may be another matter, but that’s to be expected. ‘It’s coming,’ he said. ‘I’ve only practiced two or three times in two months, so this has probably been the toughest stretch in my career of trying to find it. When you focus to do the things that Doc asks, it’s a difficult transition, but you have to do it. I don’t really think about it. We just have to be willing to do whatever coach asks us to do. I try to be better than I was the game before. I don’t know what to expect. You don’t want to set a goal that puts you outside of what the team needs you to do. I just try to be better the next game and build off what I did in the previous game.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “There weren’t a lot of positives the Boston Celtics could take out of their 83-81 loss to the New Orleans Hornets. But the play of Jermaine O’Neal was certainly one of them. While O’Neal hasn’t come close to playing at the level he has displayed throughout his career, there’s no mistaking his progress. Friday’s loss was indeed another step in the right direction for O’Neal, who had a season high in minutes played (33) in addition to scoring nine points, the most he has scored since returning last week after spending the previous six weeks out with a sore left knee. ‘JO the last three games … he was fantastic,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘He’s playing great; he’s doing exactly what we want him to do.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘It’s a very competitive league right now. We won 14 out of 15 and we did not even gain one game against Boston,’ Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. … ‘In the last four years, their record from the beginning of the year to Christmas is the best of all time,’ he said of the Celtics. ‘That’s staggering, that really is. You think about all the great teams and the dynasty of the Bulls … and they didn’t have a stretch like that during a four-year run. And Boston, when you think of it from their perspective, the only thing that’s derailed them has been injuries the last four years.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Now they’ve lost Kevin Garnett to a strained right calf, and again they’ll have to get the most out of what healthy bodies remain. ‘You get used to playing a certain way, and you come in here and expect everything to be together like it always is, then sometimes somebody moves your cheese a little bit,’ said Ray Allen. ‘That’s the kind of position we’re in, where we have to figure it out, and it’s a new challenge. When Delonte went out, that was a new challenge and it forced us to play one way. Then Rondo went down and we had to change again. Now, it’s Kevin.’”
Doug Smith, Toronto Star – “Making a brief stop at home between a pair of three-game road trips, they got precious little good news on the injury front heading into Sunday’s game against the Boston Celtics. Andrea Bargnani, who missed the holiday week trip to Memphis, Dallas and Houston, has been ruled out for the Celtics game, and Jerryd Bayless, who sprained his ankle in Dallas and lasted only eight minutes Friday night in Houston, is doubtful for the Celtics. Sonny Weems will also miss the game and the long-term injured Raptors — Peja Stojakovic and Reggie Evans — are still not available. ‘We go with what we’ve got, it gives other players an opportunity,’ coach Jay Triano said as the injury toll mounted. If there is good news, it looks like starting point guard Jose Calderon will be available, but team officials are still saying his availability will be determined at game time. If there is one saving grace, it’s that the Raptors, who went 1-2 as they limped through the road trip, will be meeting a Boston team suffering through its own spate of injuries.”
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