The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Michael Wallace, ESPN – “After dominating the Heat early and then watching nearly all of his team’s 19-point lead slip away, Pierce sprinted back on defense, planted his feet and then absorbed the full brunt of James barreling all of his 6-foot-8 inch, 260-pound frame into the lane while going in for a layup. The collision sent Pierce tumbling. By the time he came to his senses, he was in the locker room being treated for a bruised back. Pierce, who would return to finish off the Heat, has a reputation for milking these dramatic moments. But this one was legit. The pain was real. The sacrifice was bold. Never mind that he was called for a blocking foul. Nothing else his team did Tuesday was more symbolic of how uniquely proud, insanely stubborn and breathtakingly defiant the Celtics were on Tuesday. Brick walls don’t even have the audacity to stand in front of James when he’s got a full head of steam. The message that possession sent throughout the building, and likely the league, was that the defending Eastern Conference champions won’t be backing down and handing anything over to the Heat. … New Heat. Same Celtics. And Boston is still stubborn enough to stand in the way.”
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com – “Let’s face it, if there was going to be any clash in this series in which Boston figured to have the Heat’s number, this one was it. The Celtics were at home, their old legs as fresh as they’ll be all season, with most of their pieces in place for more than three years now and determined not to get marginalized so soon by these insta-team upstarts. Did I type f-r-e-s-h? Since bringing together Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in July 2007, the Celtics are 72-10 in games played before Christmas. Miami, by contrast, was playing in a hostile environment, had been thrown together on the fly and remains all parts, no whole. Wade in particular still was hobbled by a hamstring injury that wiped out his preseason.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “With all due respect to the fans who twice got the chant going, Miami is far more ‘Un-der-pre-pared’ than ‘O-ver-ra-ted.’ The Celtics simply did what they had to do to a team they really wanted to do it against. But last night is over. There is no better way to be reacquainted with reality than to wake up in Cleveland just hours after frolicking in the flashbulbs of perhaps the most anticipated NBA opener in history. ‘You always want to start off good,’ Shaquille O’Neal said after recording nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes. The Heat are good, too, despite what you saw for most of the opener. For all their talent, the limited game time together earns them a mulligan. For now, they have less cohesion than a Post-It note. ‘Oh, they’ll be so much better,’ C’s coach Doc Rivers said. ‘I don’t know if (Wade) was healthy or not. He did look explosive down the stretch. You don’t miss as much (time as Wade missed) and have rhythm. So yeah, they’ll be much better. . . . Hopefully we will (be) too.’”
Gary Dzen, Boston Globe – “LeBron was LeBron. Dwyane Wade was hurt. So who exactly is Chris Bosh? It’s way, way too early to pile on Bosh, whose 8 points (3 for 11) and 8 rebounds were underwhelming in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA season. It’s too early, and yet it makes more sense the more you read between the lines. Before the game, Ray Allen failed to mention Bosh when comparing these Miami Heat to the Celtics’ Big Three in 2007. In giving Paul Pierce a compliment, Shaquille O’Neal said the Celtics captain was every bit as deserving as “the other two over there” in the Miami locker room. The other two. … And without a superstar-level Bosh, just who are these Miami Heat? Plenty of teams have two star players. The Celtics potentially have four, though admittedly none at the current level of a James/Wade. Bosh’s development could impact the entire complexion of this NBA season.”
Rich Levine, CSNNE – “Ray Allen’s long-range shooting and Paul Pierce stepping up in the clutch were two other bright — if not entirely surprising — spots, but the night’s biggest positive has to be Rajon Rondo. Could any other guard in this league have a 2-for-9 shooting night yet still dominate a game the way Rondo did? Could any other point guard drop 17 assists without anyone noticing? Could any other player go an entire night with the defense playing five feet off of him yet still get to the basket when he needed to? Listening to Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal talk about Rondo after the game, it was like they just went through a religious experience. And you get the sense that might be a common theme as the year goes on. Rondo’s the fastest guy on the court, but he still sees the game in slow motion. He sees things other guys don’t. And that vision is only expanding each night. It’s going to be fun. And honestly, so was watching the Celtics bring the new Big Three back down to Earth; a lot of fun. But in looking at the big picture, I’ll get a lot more satisfaction in what the Celtics did, as opposed to what the Heat didn’t.”
Jessica Camerato, CSNNE – “In the box score, Shaquille O’Neal posted 9 points and 7 rebounds in 18 minutes. His teammates believe his contributions went beyond the stat sheet. ‘He’s huge for us,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘I think the numbers don’t really tell you how big he is for us because I remember at one point in the game going to Ray [Allen], I think it was the third quarter, we looked up and we were six minutes and in the bonus because Shaq drew about four or five fouls. We’re not a team that usually gets in the bonus that early, and that’s the presence that he brings. Hopefully it’s going to be like that all year long, when you get into a penalty and every foul from then on you go to the free-throw line. Just having him, he’s a great finisher . . . We want to take advantage of that night in and night out. I think that’s where our greatest strength is, on the inside, and I’m glad to have him on our team.’ Kevin Garnett simply echoed, ‘What he said.’”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports – “There’s never been such a target in the NBA, and that includes the Jordan Bulls, the Showtime Lakers, no one. These Heat are the creation of the digital media age, the time of 24-7 viral assault on your senses. Bosh is right: It isn’t going away. So how do you deal with it all? Eventually, he isn’t going to like something Spoelstra tells him. Or one of Spoelstra’s assistants tells him. He won’t like the way he’s getting blame when the team’s struggling and Wade, the Miami icon, gets a pass. Something will spur him because it always does, and then everyone will find out again about LeBron James’ coping mechanisms. James never has been able to make fun of himself, and he needed a Nike campaign to do it for him. He’d better find a way to take a sobering look at his flaws, his failures and scrub away old stains with a new start on South Beach. What should he do? Take a look around, embrace Riley’s culture and understand that he needs the Heat as much as they need him. What should he do? No more running, LeBron. No more hiding. Finally, there’s someone to confront James. There’s someone who isn’t held hostage, who isn’t terrified of telling him, “No.” Opening night, a sluggish loss to the Celtics, and none of it mattered so much in late October. Cleveland is long gone, and so needs to be the perpetual adolescence of that cocoon. He’s under Old Man Riles’ watch now, and that could change everything for LeBron James. That could complete him.”
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe – “This was the most hyped and anticipated opening-night game in the league’s 65-year history. Everyone with an interest in the sport of professional basketball wanted to see the mighty Miami Heat, the team with the latest Big Three, the team that was going to re-glamorize the NBA, and never mind the fact we have a two-time defending champion located in the glamour capital of the US of A. But if the nation, the world, the uni verse, the galaxy, whatever, tuned in to see the mighty Miami Heat, they were re-introduced to the reality of the Boston Celtics, who have won a championship and have had two legitimate shots at others in the past three years, and who certainly look to be new and improved this season. The mighty Miami Heat could have been given a much easier opening-night foe than the Celtics’ squad that handed them an 88-80 loss to ensure they will not go 82-0.”
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald – “LeBron was asked about giving up the ball. Yep. The man who held his own version of “Judge Judy” to announce the name of his new employer was now being asked about giving up the ball. ‘It’s a feel-out process,’ he said. ‘When you have so many options, it’s something I’m not accustomed to, having that many threats out on the court at the same time. As the cohesiveness gets better, we’ve got to protect the balls more, but we’ll learn where the guys want the ball on the court.’ As his new teammate Dwyane Wade put it, ‘Sorry if everyone thought we were going to go 82-0. It just ain’t happening.’ And it was Wade who, commenting on the Garden crowd, said, ‘Well, the hostile atmosphere is fine. We’ve played in hostile atmospheres, environments, before, so that’s respect.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “The opponent and preceding hype considered, Allen admitted to having a flashback to last June. ‘I actually felt like I was in the playoffs – it was the same feeling and energy,’ said Allen. ‘With those guys coming in here the fans were ready. I could hear them when I walked into the building getting on the other team. I look forward to many nights like that.’ That feeling was contagious. ‘I said to Paul as we came out here, ‘Are we in the Finals already?’ ” said Kevin Garnett, who beyond taking Bosh out of the game had a rough time in the last 4:15, when he missed three shots and two free throws, and also committed the offensive foul that set up James’ drive. But Garnett’s late drain was offset in all sorts of ways. Rajon Rondo had 17 assists to Miami’s overall 15. Though Shaquille O’Neal did a nice job of pounding the Heat frontcourt into early foul trouble, Glen Davis was Rivers’ choice as a crunch-time center.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “After the game, Pierce admitted he’s sore after spilling hard to the floor while picking up a blocking foul trying to deny James on a drive to the basket with 3:53 to play in the third quarter. He returned 1:17 into the fourth quarter, then connected on a pair of 3-pointers (while getting fouled in the act of shooting on another) to fuel his offensive outburst. ‘A little sore right now,’ said Pierce. ‘I knew when I got up and started walking around on the court, the back started to spasm a little bit. I had the chance to go to the back, took a few Advils, and put some heat on it and it loosened up a little bit. It was pretty good for the rest of the game, but it’s going to be a little sore [Tuesday] and [Wednesday].’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “Pierce has seen this play out so many times that he’s almost not surprised anymore when Allen takes, and makes, a huge 3-pointer with the game on the line. But take it for granted? No sir. ‘I’ve been a witness to the last three years, and he’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with,’ Pierce said. ‘It’s an honor just to be able to step on the court with him night in and night out. You’ve got a guy that can take that kind of pressure of you, it’s an amazing feeling.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “The Celtics utilized a handful of defenders on LeBron James Tuesday night, but it was Paul Pierce who proved most effective. Pierce was the defender on 14 of James’ 21 field goal attempts and he limited the Heat star to under 43 percent shooting overall. More importantly, Pierce forced five of James’ game-high eight turnovers, including three in the second half. Guarded by Pierce, James shot 42. 9 percent with five turnovers and 11 points scored (includes points via free throws). Defended by the rest of Boston’s roster James shot 57.1 percent with only three turnovers and 20 points scored.”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “Last night, the Celtics coach wanted Davis to close out a tight game, taking the place of new acquisition Shaquille O’Neal. ‘With (Davis), he’s the fifth guy a lot because he knows a lot of our stuff,’ Rivers said. ‘(Rajon) Rondo ran three plays in the fourth quarter that we literally hadn’t run this year in a practice or anything . . . so it allowed us to keep playing. And Shaq will gradually get there, but we’ve got to make sure we milk Baby and tell him.’”
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