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 – “Earlier in the game [Rondo] came to the conclusion that the Spurs were going to do whatever they could to take Paul Pierce out of the offense. That meant he could direct the flow of the offense toward Ray Allen. Rivers noticed it too. Rondo looked at Rivers. Rivers nodded and said, ‘Keep it simple.’ So they ran the same pindown, over and over again, and Allen made 13-of-16 shots and scored 31 points. When Rondo is being Rondo, the Celtics are not only a great basketball team, they are also a joy to behold. ‘I still don’t think he’s near 100 percent, but Rondo’s a warrior,” Marquis Daniels said. “He’s going to fight through whatever it is. He always wants to play regardless of the situation. You got to tip your hat to a guy like that who comes out every night and puts his work hat on.’”
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe – “There was little reason to rip Jesus Shuttlesworth on this night, until the finish. For most of the night, Allen looked like he was throwing apples into an oil drum. Then came the curious two misses from the line at the end. ‘That just about never happens with Ray,’ said Danny Ainge. ‘I remember Kevin McHale did it at the end of that Laker game in the ’84 Finals. Right before Gerald Henderson stole the ball. We were laughing the next day because when we watched the film you could see Kevin’s knees shaking before the second free throw.’ ‘I will shoot 100 free throws tomorrow,’ pledged Allen.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “It was one of those can’t-miss nights for Ray Allen. He was 13 of 16 from the floor, and when he sprung free for a 3-pointer from in front of the Spurs’ bench with 1:37 remaining last night, he seemed to all but bury the team with the best record in the NBA. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sat amazed — if also aggravated — by Allen’s accuracy. ‘If it was practice and you did pindowns and you came off that, I don’t know if anyone in the league would hit 13 of 16,’ Popovich said.”
Mike Petraglia, WEEI – “Paul Pierce blocked Manu Ginobili‘s jumper as time expired to preserve a 105-103 win over the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night at TD Garden. ‘We didn’t want to give up a three, that was kind of the only thing that could beat us, we sort of overplayed on the three point line,’ Pierce said. ‘They made a two-pointer and I had to go out, or it would go into overtime, but that was the main thing just to take away the three point shot.’ Rajon Rondo made team history with 22 assists as part of a triple-double, as the Celtics held off the Spurs in a match-up of teams with the two best records in the NBA. Rondo – who also finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds – became the first player in Celtics history with at least 19 assists in three games in a season. He fell just two shy of his season high of 24 on Oct. 29 vs. the Knicks. ‘He did it all, he rebounded, assisted, Doc’s kind of been on him about taking that shot there and he steps up when he needs to and knocks down those shots confidently,’ Pierce said.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Point guard Rajon Rondo thrives on his ability to see things before they happen. The 22 assists he handed out as part of his latest eyebrow-raising triple-double Wednesday night in the Boston Celtics’ 105-103 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs are evidence of that. But Rondo’s power of clairvoyance began long before he stepped onto the TD Garden court for a 43-minute shift. Rondo had fully anticipated another night of working against a sagging defense, players gleefully running under screens to prevent him from doing any damage by driving to the basket. So following the Celtics’ morning walkthrough, Rondo spent extra time working on his mid-range jumper, spraying shots over invisible Manu Ginoblis. ‘We watched film today while working out, but I was upstairs and I watched Rondo take shot after shot after shot after shot,’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ‘You could see himself mentally getting ready for what he thought was going to happen, and it did. They went under [screens on the pick-and-roll] and he stepped up and made shots.’ … ‘We wanted him to take shots; that’s the next step for him,’ Rivers said after Monday’s game. ‘He can make those shots. That’s what’s so frustrating to our guys: [Rondo] passed up at least six of them today, maybe seven. Rondo can make those shots. We just have to get him to take them after a miss. Because the way [the Timberwolves] guarded him tonight is the way they’re going to guard him in the playoffs. I see him every day in practice make that shot. Two years ago, I didn’t say that. He’s an elbow shooter. He can make them all day. He will make them all day. We’ve just got to make him keep shooting.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘Maybe it was telling of a back-to-back that we caught them in,’ Pierce said of San Antonio’s loss in New York Tuesday night. ‘We are one of the best offensive teams in the league when we run our stuff and make our shots. When we get the ball in Rondo’s hands, we’re a great team offensively.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “After Paul Pierce swatted Manu Ginobili’s 3-point attempt away, Rondo gathered the loose ball and threw it in the air as time ran out. ‘It wasn’t like it was 0.0 on the clock,’ Rondo said. ‘But it’s a rebound, right?’ The play gave him his sixth career triple-double in the regular season, and he wasn’t arguing. ‘I didn’t expect a blocked shot, but I just tried to recover the ball,’ Rondo said. ‘I don’t know if it was a block or a steal for me, I just tried to recover the ball.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘At halftime, I decided to go small, which I thought helped us,’ said Rivers. ‘I thought, obviously, Ray [Allen] and Paul and [Rajon] Rondo were phenomenal. But I thought Jermaine O’Neal, honestly, was just absolutely huge for us. We left him out there, he defended Tim [Duncan] one-on-one for the most part and he got blocks, he gave us defensive energy. He was absolutely sensational.’ So why go small? ‘Because Bonner was killing us,’ said Rivers. ‘And I thought the way they were guarding Paul in the first half, with the overplays and using the other big, I thought if we put another small on the floor, especially a shooting small like Nate [Robinson], then they could no longer overplay Paul. And then, defensively, we could match up with Bonner and take his shots away. So that’s why we did it.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “‘[Glen Davis has] given us a big spark filling in for Kevin, especially,’ said Pierce. ‘The things he does coming off the bench being a great sixth man — probably the best sixth man in basketball right now if you ask me. ‘He’s doing a lovely job at that. I mean, we’re asking him to do so many things that Kevin does.’ Davis was good rolling to the hoop, and he also found the mid-range jumper to be quite available. ‘I just shot the ball,’ he said. ‘They were kind of like playing off me. I kind of was shocked. I was like, “Oh my gosh, they don’t want to check me.’ They just want to let me shoot. So I just kept shooting and got into a rhythm. I hit some good shots.’ Davis admitted he thinks about his financial future at times, ‘but you try to still stay within yourself and the team,’ he said. ‘You’ve just got to keep pushing and don’t worry about it.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘I’m always surprised whenever I get open,’ Allen said. ‘Especially from three.’ One of the reasons he has such freedom offensively is because of his tireless running from one side of the court to the other, usually bouncing off a screen set by a teammate. ‘One thing I learned about basketball a long time ago,’ Allen said. ‘If I can be in better shape than the guy guarding me, then the team will have problems.’ It also helps that Allen is on the floor with a number of high-powered scorers, such as Paul Pierce. ‘It really is pick your poison for teams when they play us,’ Daniels said. ‘Who you gonna help off of? Paul? You do that, we go to Ray. You help off Ray, we go to Paul. Either way you go, you’re going to have your hands full.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Those who spend time around the Spurs invariably walk away talking about how coach Gregg Popovich is able to get on Duncan and the ancillary benefits that has down the roster. ‘Well, he certainly makes it easy on me,’ Popovich said before his team lost a 105-103 decision to the Celtics last night. ‘I think it’s just a logical thought that if the star of your team can handle criticism and is willing to be coached that that’s good for the whole group. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that out, and I’m fortunate that I’ve got a guy like that. There are times when I get on him pretty good.’ Celts coach Doc Rivers said it’s the same with him regarding Paul Pierce [stats], Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. ‘I remember when we were losing and I was talking to Pop one time,’ Rivers said. ‘One of the first things he said is, ‘First of all, if your best player is really good, that helps. But if your best player is really good and he allows you to coach him, it allows you to coach the team.’ I really believe that’s the key. Then obviously you hope what you’re doing is right. But the fact that the guy will follow, it allows you to coach the team and it allows everyone else — they almost have to fall into place. And the ones who don’t kind of stand out. Hey, listen,’ Rivers went on, ‘Kevin and Paul and Ray, when they got together, they clearly allowed me to coach them. They all changed what they were doing offensively. Paul and Ray really dedicated themselves defensively, and it made it easier to coach some of the young guys.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “The Celtics had until last night to waive guards Von Wafer and Delonte West, and instead let the deadline pass, guaranteeing the minimum contracts of both players for the rest of the season. Wafer, unaware that he had just dodged a major bullet, was understandably thrilled. ‘That’s definitely a relief,’ said Wafer, a skilled shooter who has won a job on this team thanks to his defense as well as his scoring. ‘I’m really happy, man, just blessed.’”
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