The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Clog the paint. Block shots. Take charges. Help on pick-and-rolls. Roll to the basket. Switching from star duties to clean-up duties was even harder when O’Neal started the season in a shooting slump, since he wouldn’t be able to simply shoot his way out of it. Not with so many other offensive options sharing the floor. If O’Neal was going to be effective, he’d have to do it by going down that checklist. But when knee issues sidelined him for six weeks, it seemed as if O’Neal would have a way to go to live up to the mid-level exception deal the Celtics signed him to last summer. Since his return to the lineup on Christmas Day in Orlando, Fla., though, he’s embraced all the mop-and-bucket assignments. ‘It comes through time,’ O’Neal said. ‘I’m learning on the go, and I think you guys know it, and they’re trying to put me in a position to be successful.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “In the last seven games, O’Neal has scored just 46 points and pulled a mere 14 rebounds from the NBA sky. He hasn’t had an offensive rebound since Dec. 22 when Santa was carbo loading with the reindeer. It’s fair to say that 6.6 points and 2.0 rebounds is shadowy for a guy with career averages of 23.9 and 10.9, respectively. But this isn’t your father’s Shaq Daddy. … “I think he’s playing fine,” said general manager Danny Ainge. “We’re producing when he’s playing. That’s the big thing. It’s hard to look at an individual’s numbers. You have to look at the bigger picture. When a guy’s on the court, what is a team doing. And the team’s playing really well when he’s out there.’ With Tim Duncan and Matt Bonner running around, the Celts weren’t expecting Wednesday to be O’Neal’s night. ‘He’s always effective,’ said Doc Rivers. ‘It’s just that some games — like San Antonio — are going to be tough nights for him because they have two shooting bigs. The problem there is you want to keep him low, but both bigs are popping. It makes it tough for him, but he’s been great.’ … ‘No, he has a far greater impact,’ [Ray Allen] said. ‘It’s just like if I don’t score, I know I have an impact on the game because people don’t want to leave me. So there’s space. And between he and I, we both create space for Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo to operate and Kevin (Garnett) to get open shots. You can’t measure that.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘We like our guys,’ Ainge said. ‘It’s tough. Guys like Von Wafer, Luke Harangody, Avery Bradley, we believe given an opportunity, those guys are going to be really good players.’ All have shown promise when given minutes this season. But those opportunities have been few and far between, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the players ahead of them on the depth chart. ‘If I were with a different team, maybe I would be playing more,’ Harangody, a second-round pick in last June’s NBA draft, told CSNNE.com. ‘But every day, I get to play against guys like Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal, some of the best players to ever play the game. That can only help me down the road, to be a better NBA player.’ Bradley echoed similar sentiments to CSNNE.com. ‘These guys have been great for me,’ Bradley said. ‘The thing I love about all of my teammates, is how hard they work, everyday. My whole life, I was always better than everybody; faster, stronger. What Doc [Rivers] stresses with me, is that people at this level are going to be strong and fast, just like me. The veterans on this team do a great job of challenging me, encouraging me to just keep working, to just keep trying to get better.’”
Jessica Camerato, CSNNE – “Erden began his professional basketball in Europe when he was a teenager. This summer he played for the Turkish National Team in the 2010 FIBA Tournament, including 18 minutes in the championship game against the United States. After starting four games this season in place of Shaquille O’Neal, Erden has not played since December 22. That isn’t stopping him, though, from enjoying his rookie season in the NBA. ‘I just keep working, that’s it,’ Erden said. ‘I have to work. I have to be ready. I’m patient and wait my turn. I take my time so I can show my best. That’s it. Just work, work, work . . . [I don’t get frustrated.] I’m good because we have a lot of experienced guys. I learn everything right now and I know everything because it’s [been] like four months. I’m watching and enjoying because we won the game and everybody played good and we are teammates . . . I have a good attitude because this is a chance but I’m happy. I’m happy to be here.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “Ainge called Rajon Rondo’s performance, ‘one of the best games Rondo’s ever played,’ but Ainge was more impressed by his defense against Tony Parker, than his triple-double stat line. ‘Not only did he control the game offensively — he had a lot of assists last night because Ray [Allen] was shooting the ball so well. His numbers can be deceiving. His defense against Tony Parker, he was fighting through the screens. I think the two games he played prior to that he was just out there. I don’t think he was playing 100 percent. I don’t think he could. He was just out there just to get us in our offense. It was helpful but he wasn’t playing the defense like he did.’ Ainge also noted Allen’s night, in which the veteran sharpshooter made 13-of-16 shots with many coming off the same play. ‘I don’t know who else in the league can do what Ray did last night. Just catching and shooting going away from the basket off down screens, other than guys like Reggie Miller and Dale Ellis, there really aren’t that many guys that are proficient at it.’”
Brandon Lawrence, WEEI – “Through the 22 assists and the triple-double, I think you can make a case that the most amazing thing was his block last night. [Doc Rivers replied,] ‘To me, not only the most amazing, but the most important thing was that he took shots down the stretch. I’ve said this before, as good as he’s playing and we’re playing right now at times, it’s a different game in the playoffs. The one area that Rondo has to improve in, and he’s really worked on, and you saw that improvement last night, is the elbow jump shot. We know, during the playoffs, that’s what everyone’s going to force him to do, and everyone’s going to help on Ray [Allen] to take those shots off of Rondo, and if Rondo can make those shots, then we’re really good.”
Got a tip? An article you think should be included? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @CelticsTown.