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 – “In the end, though, they played a game of double-dare with Rondo, and he dealt them their demise. ‘He showed that he can beat you,’ Pierce said. ‘They came in and said we’re going to try to make Rondo beat us. They showed in the way they defended him. They went under all the pick and rolls, played him loose, let him get to the rim, get out to the break. He was phenomenal. He took up the scoring load for us and it showed that if teams are going to settle and try to let Rondo beat them, he’s capable of doing it.’ Once upon a time, letting Rondo beat you might have seemed like a safe bet. ‘When it comes to the NBA,’ Kevin Garnett said, ‘I don’t bet at all.’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “The sad part for Cleveland is that it actually thought it had a chance because Rajon Rondo (hamstring and foot issues) was thought to be hurting. ‘We know that he’s not at 110 percent,’ Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said earlier in the day. ‘Rondo’s one of the best young point guards in this league. We know he is the key that makes that engine go over there. The one thing we want to do is apply as much pressure as possible.’ But Rondo came out of the pressure looking like a diamond. He had game-highs of 23 points and 12 assists, hitting 11-of-17 attempts from the floor after Scott said the Cavs would much rather have him than his teammates shooting. ‘I took maybe four or five jump shots out of 17, but the rest of them were layups,’ said Rondo, who now has seven double-doubles and a triple-double. ‘If they’re going to give me layups, then it’s cool. But I was still trying to pass the ball. I’m a pass-first point guard. I want to keep my teammates happy.’”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “‘When the second unit came in, they got to what we were trying to do to start the game,’ Rivers said. ‘They pounded it down low with Baby andMarquis [Daniels]. I thought those were the two guys that changed the game for us.’ Rivers had given Davis a not-so-subtle nudge, saying the forward was trying to do too much the past three games. Last night, from his defense to his 17 points and 11 rebounds, he gave what the coach was looking for. ‘He was absolutely sensational,’ Rivers said. ‘Defensively, he challenged shots and offensively, he was patient. I thought he set the tone early on. We got on him about quick shots and I thought in the first half, he passed up two quick shots. Set another pick and got someone else the shot. He’s just got to trust that the ball will come back to him. We are an extremely unselfish team, and I thought he learned that [last night].’”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Shaq did have a contrite word for some when he got on the plane. ‘I apologized to the three, but not anyone else,’ he said of Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. ‘I just apologized to the generals who I am consulting, and that’s it. It’s just not a big thing. It’s not like I’m one of those players who said, ‘(Expletive) it, I’m not coming to practice today.’ It was just one those things. But it won’t ever happen again.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Shaquille O’Neal, who spent last season with James in Cleveland, is among those who plan to watch Thursday night’s game. The winner of that game, for O’Neal at least, is irrelevant. ‘I’m like one of those silly fans,’ O’Neal said. ‘I’m not worried about the game. I’m anxious to see if he does the powder [bleep]. (James usually starts every game by tossing powder high into the air, something Cleveland fans used to love.) We got bets that he doesn’t do it.’”
Ben Rohrbach, WEEI – “Despite having three guys — Allen, Garnett and Pierce — shooting 89, 85 and 84 percent from the free-throw line, the Celtics entered Tuesday night’s game ranked 21st in the NBA in foul shooting. And they didn’t do themselves any favors, shooting just 13-of-23 from the charity stripe against the Cavaliers. Shaquille O’Neal’s struggles at the line are a given (he’s at 57 percent). It’s really only Rondo who can help the Celtics improve in that arena. The Celtics point guard is shooting a putrid 47 percent from the line this season, and he made just 1-of-4 against the Cavaliers. This problem may not have much effect on the C’s success during the regular season, but there’s no doubt it could be an Achilles heel in the playoffs, when games are more physical and tighter at the end. After all, the Celtics ranked eighth in free-throw percentage when they won the title three years ago.”
Elliott Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News – “Suddenly, the Lakers have serious issues. Their defense isn’t as tight as it should be, which means they’re trading baskets with opponents instead of stopping them and building and nurturing leads. Their offense isn’t clicking because they’re playing from behind instead of from ahead. What’s more, some of their best players are playing too many minutes because of injuries and lack of experience. A string of close games has underscored the Lakers’ lack of depth behind center Pau Gasol and power forward Lamar Odom. So, in hindsight, it hasn’t been a surprise to see the Lakers struggling recently. Their 98-96 loss Tuesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies was their third consecutive defeat, only their second three-game skid since Gasol was acquired Feb. 1, 2008.”
Mary Schmitt Boyer, Cleveland Plain Dealer – “If this was a boxing match, as Cavaliers coach Byron Scott suggested, the Boston Celtics registered a second-round TKO. ‘You get punched in the face, you want to see how you’re going to react,” Scott said after the Celtics pounded the Cavs, 106-87. ‘I thought we staggered, but we never really threw a punch back. I thought that was pretty much the difference.’”
Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer – “The wisdom of the Celtics’ rebuilding stands in contrast to the Heat’s fantasy league approach. Before the 2007-08 season, the Celtics traded for Garnett, the big man they needed for interior defense, and for Ray Allen, the shooter they needed to complement Pierce. The emergence of Rondo completed the puzzle. ‘Everybody said it would take a year, but I told them we didn’t have a year. We were too old,’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ‘We didn’t have complementary players. We had willing players. Everybody had a vested interest in making it work. ‘I don’t want to hear that players don’t mix or match. All of our players dropped off that first year in minutes, in shots. But they were willing to do that.’”
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