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 – “Coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t know whether O’Neal would ultimately require surgery. ‘I’m concerned,’ Rivers said. ‘I think he’s gone two weeks and a practice and his knee swells up. First of all, it has to be extremely frustrating for him. He worked his butt off to get back and he was playing well. Secondly, we all have common sense. That’s a concern, ‘Why is this happening?’ And so we have to figure that out.’ Having shut down O’Neal once already, Rivers didn’t seem as though he wanted to do it again. ‘We’ve done that and we thought we were good, and it happened again,’ Rivers said. ‘I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. I just know this has to be frustrating.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “For better or worse, the Celtics need Jermaine O’Neal to be functioning this spring. If his knee injury is going to be a constant concern, then that is a very big deal for the Celtics because they still don’t know what Kendrick Perkins will be able to give them when he comes back and Shaquille O’Neal’s play has tapered off dramatically since late December. Rivers had a plan for the O’Neals, but it has already been blown up and modified as the injuries have mounted and lingered. ‘We had a strategy going into the year with Jermaine and Shaq, but we didn’t account for the other guys going down,’ Rivers said. ‘That’s where it kind of got a little dicey and still is.’ The Celtics need three centers for the playoffs and for the time being they have two. Both of whom, it should be pointed out, have their own injuries. That’s their biggest concern right now. Not Garnett.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “There’s a good chance, according to Rivers, that Kevin Garnett may not see action until Monday, when the Orlando Magic visit. Though Garnett has required more time than expected to recover from a strained right calf, Rivers insisted that unlike the forward’s knee trouble two years ago, there is not more to this than the team is letting on. ‘It’s no conspiracy,’ Rivers said. ‘He’s just taking a little longer than we wanted him to. No one has told me to worry about it. (Trainer) Eddie (Lacerte) has been really nonchalant about (whether this is going to be) a season-long injury problem. He’s dealing with it like Kevin. But with Kevin, he’s so emotional that you want to make sure he doesn’t get down about stuff. That’s where I’m always concerned with him — starting this why-is-this- happening-to-me stuff, you don’t want him to go there. It’s not a bad injury, but he doesn’t like missing games. I think his goal was to play all 82. The fact that isn’t going to happen (ticks) him off. It’s just who he is. That’s a good thing in the long run.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘We didn’t come out with the same energy [Monday] as we did tonight,’ said Marquis Daniels, who scored 12 points off the bench. ‘We’ve just got to find a way to do it every night regardless of who we’re playing. We’ve just got to come in, get back in transition, and rebound the basketball. We’ve been getting killed on the boards, so that’s something we’ve got to focus on. It’s always another notch we can go to. We’ve just got to pick each other up, regardless of if it’s the starters or the second string. We’ve just got to be tuned in and play a full 48-minute game. … Rivers needed to see his players respond to his call for more energy, and they did. ‘We just wanted to put pressure on them, making sure that we were the instigators,’ Davis said. ‘It means a lot. It helps the team out in so many ways just to do things harder. It helps on the offense and defensive side. It sets a standard. That’s what we need to do.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘I thought we played well in the first half in two ways. I thought we had an amazing pace with Rondo and Nate,’ coach Doc Rivers said. ‘We were pushing the ball up the floor. We missed I don’t know how many point-blank layups and open shots. So I told them, don’t worry about the offense.’ The defense, without Garnett, is a going concern, as evidenced by Sacramento’s ability to shoot 51.4 percent, including a marauding paint performance by power forward Carl Landry, who scored seven of his 17 points from the line. But the bench ultimately made it possible for the starters to take a fourth-quarter seat. After the recent grind of seven games in 10 days, the break was badly needed. ‘I saw Paul icing early, Ray (Allen) is icing early, Rondo,’ said Daniels. ‘It’s always a good thing to see those guys icing early. We are going to need those guys down the line.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Boston’s strong performance was fueled by Pierce’s ability to make the most of his matchup with Sacramento’s Franciso Garcia. Celtics coach Doc Rivers attributes Pierce’s strong play, as well as the solid performance by the entire Celtics roster, to a spirited practice on Tuesday. ‘[Tuesday] in practice after showing them the film, we practiced hard,’ Rivers said. ‘And the cuts were hard. And you could see it. And you were just hoping there would be a carryover today and there was.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “What does Rivers miss most about Garnett when he’s not on the floor? His ability to quarterback the defense. ‘You can get somebody to provide energy — Luke [Harangody] plays with a lot of energy. What we miss is his voice. Kevin is the best talker on defense in the NBA, maybe in the history of the NBA. It doesn’t matter what you do. Watching our transition defense the last two games, and how awful we were, it’s clear what was missing — that guy running down the middle of the floor pointing at everyone to ‘Get over there,’ or ‘Go over there.’ We just don’t have a guy like that and you can’t replace that.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “The bench was able to stay in control in the final quarter, allowing the starters to rest. ‘They tease us about that all the time,’ Robinson said. ‘They tease the bench. They say, come on now, we don’t want to play the rest of the fourth, so we can get a little bit of rest. The bench, we try to go in every night and bring energy and play hard, take some of the slack off the starting five, because they do a tremendous job every night. The bench, we’ve got to be there, not just [last night] but every night. I think that if we continue to do that I think we’ll be a hell of a team.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “More than the points, it was Erden’s energy that Celtics coach Doc Rivers was pleased with seeing. ‘He was great,’ Rivers said. ‘You know, we needed his energy.’ But as Erden’s minutes played steadily increased – he played 33 minutes on Wednesday after playing just 31 in the previous 12 games combined – it was clear that he was, well, how did Doc put it? . . . ‘He ran out of gas,’ Rivers said. ‘There’s no doubt about that.’ But you won’t find Rivers complaining about his contributions, especially with the uncertain status of O’Neal who continues to have left knee issues. Rivers said the knee had swollen up earlier in the day, but he did not know until about an hour before tip-off that O’Neal could not play. ‘[Erden] was ready, which is the most important thing, and the other thing – it’s tough for him, because he didn’t know [he would play],’ Rivers said. ‘Hell, I didn’t know. So it’s a good job by him, especially a young player. Because most young players, they would think, ‘I’m not playing today’ and not come with the right mental approach.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “That’s exactly what Rivers wanted to see from his rookie — the 60th and final pick in the 2008 draft — and said as much before the game. ‘Energy,’ Rivers answered when asked what Erden’s game had lacked thus far. ‘He’s a good player, a young player. What he’s learning from us is that there’s a level of intensity that you have to play with on every possession, every night. He’s going to make mistakes, I don’t care about when young guys make mistakes. I care more about focus.’”
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