The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Even after Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed mild concern earlier this week about bringing injured Shaquille O’Neal on a long flight to Portland, the 38-year-old center made the trip with the team Wednesday afternoon, another sign he’ll return to action during this four-game trek out west, which begins Thursday night against the Trail Blazers. Reserve swingman Marquis Daniels, who missed his first game of the season Tuesday while tending to a family matter, did not fly with the team, but was expected to join the Celtics on Wednesday evening in Portland.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Although [Kendrick Perkins is] back, coach Doc Rivers said his minutes will be limited. He played 17 minutes on Tuesday. ‘He actually probably played one or two minutes [more] than we anticipated,’ Rivers said. ‘He wanted to stay in. But I think that’ll be it for a while, between 16 and 18 minutes.’ Aware of this, Perkins tried to do whatever he could to stay on the floor as long as possible, even if it means trying to duck behind other players when Rivers is ready to take him out. ‘I think 6-10 and 275 pounds, is too big to try and hide,’ Perkins said. ‘I did try to turn my back. I told ‘Baby’ [Glen Davis] to raise his hands so Doc could give him a blow, but it’s all good.’ There’s no hiding the return of Perkins can only bolster Boston’s chances of regaining the dominance they enjoyed a year ago on the road. ‘[Perkins] is always the guy that has been the hard-hat, lunch bucket worker on the team,’ said Allen, who needs 21 3′s to become the NBA’s all-time leader in that category. ‘Him coming back has a great symbolism to it. We know what we are trying to get back to. We are trying to get this team back to where we are 100 percent.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “To a man the Celtics say this is just another game, but deep down the memory of Game 7 burns deep into their psyche. It’s been a constant theme since training camp and the prime source of motivation during the regular season, as well as a pointed reminder of what could have been. They’ll never get over it, honestly, and that’s exactly why a January game with the Lakers doesn’t carry quite the same weight. ‘I really don’t care about going there unless it’s in the finals,’ Perkins said. But the nerve is still raw and it’s not like the Celtics ever need any more motivation to play the Lakers, who have been settling into a nice groove since a midseason slump unleashed the hounds.”
Greg Payne, ESPN Boston – “‘Well they’re open,’ Rivers said of why his players are shooting so well. ‘I know that sounds simple, but I just think our guys take open shots, and they pass contested shots, and they trust each other. Shaq said it earlier in the year — this team, if you’re open, they pass it to you. If you’re not open, they pass it to someone else, and if you’re not open, you should pass it, and I think that’s the way we play.’ At the heart of the Celtics’ ball movement is none other than point guard Rajon Rondo, whose understanding of and control over the team’s offense has been instrumental to its success this season. Rondo, whose currently leading the league in assists per game at 12.9, has steadily evolved from a player the Celtics couldn’t possibly win with at the helm as they chased a championship three seasons ago, to a player the Celtics now cannot possibly win without. His mastery of the team’s offensive schemes has increased exponentially, season after season, as have his assists per game averages. During the 2007-2008 championship season, Rondo averaged just 5.1 assists per game. Less than three full seasons later, that number has nearly tripled (at least with his otherworldly early season averages). Rondo plays with not only a willingness to create the easiest shots possible for his teammates, but almost a distinct need for it. ‘He’s huge,’ Rivers said of Rondo’s involvement in his teammates’ offensive success. ‘It’s nice when you have [Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady, or whoever you want to call him, because he’s trying to get you the ball. Rondo would rather for you to score than him. I was never a scorer, but if I had have been I would have loved to play with Rondo.’”
Peter May, ESPN Boston – “The Celtics are heading out West. To which a seasoned observer might ask, ‘What took them so long?’ They go where the schedule sends them, and the schedule this season has them making their first real Western excursion in the final week of January. Usually they make their first trip between Christmas and New Year’s. As a result, the Celtics will arrive in Portland for Thursday night’s game at the Rose Garden having played the fewest road games against the Western Conference — three — of any Eastern Conference team. The only other team whose situation is similar is Charlotte. The Hornets are currently on a Western swing and have played only five road games against the other conference (they play their sixth Wednesday night). Miami has already played 12 roadies against the West. The Knicks have played 13 (as have the Nets, but they don’t count). The Magic have played 10, the Bulls nine and the Hawks eight. The Celtics’ three games against the West came early in the season, in the second week of November. They won at Oklahoma City, lost at Dallas the next night (a certifiable giveaway) and then beat the Grizzlies in Memphis. That’s it. The good news for the Celtics is that those are three of the top nine teams in the Western Conference. This trip will add Nos. 2, 8 and 10 along with a lottery candidate.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Every team in the league has gripes about its schedule when its released each summer, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Boston went so far as to reach out to the league about altering a portion of this upcoming trip. ‘The only thing I don’t like about this trip is the travel and games so quickly,’ said Rivers. ‘Traveling to Portland and playing a game the next day is brutal. And then you fly backwards to Phoenix, where you lose an hour, and then you play [the Lakers] in a [12:30 PST] game. That’s a lot of games. We get our schedules before the season starts, before [the media] get them, and we have a chance to change games. This is the one trip we actually really tried to get changed. We just wanted another day, but [the NBA] said, ‘No.””
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Though up until Tuesday night he was on the outside looking in through the window of his own team, Kendrick Perkins has dreamed as much as anyone of what the Celtics will be like once they are healthy. ‘We’re always talking about once we get healthy all the way, we’ll be unstoppable, especially with our frontcourt,’ Perkins said after his first game of the season, a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Garden. ‘We can throw everything at you — (Shaquille O’Neal), Kevin (Garnett), (Glen Davis), Semih (Erden), myself. Anybody gets in foul trouble and we can come up with whatever. We have all the weapons, we just have to make sure we use them.’ … ‘Nothing,’ Perkins said of any significance being attached to the game against the Lakers. ‘I really don’t care about going there unless it’s in the Finals. The regular season don’t matter, so I try not to think about it too much. I try to forget about (the injury).’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Roy lacks cartilage in his knees, and after playing 23 games this season, he decided that exploratory surgery was necessary. He is unsure whether that will mean playing pain-free, but he is banking that at least the pain will be manageable. He talks to Robinson often. ‘I’ve been knowing B-Roy since the fourth, fifth grade, and the one thing I know about him is he’s a real positive guy,’ Robinson said. ‘And I know B-Roy will never give up. He’s a fighter, man, and he loves the game of basketball and he’ll bounce back and he’ll be all right. If he comes back and just wanted to play a little bit, he will. He has that inner child that’s not going to let him give up. He’s always been like that since we were younger.’ Robinson recalls playing alongside Roy in elementary school and taking on five guys. Neither backed down. ‘Whatever we got to do to win, he’s just that type of guy,’ Robinson said. ‘He would just fight through anything.’”
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