The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “In his best performance as a Celtic, O’Neal took a little time to bask in the crowd’s vocal appreciation. ‘I think people appreciate my hard work, especially over the last 18 years,’ he said. ‘I think they understand that when I came here for the 1.5 (million dollars), they knew what was on my mind. For them, it’ll be 18 (championships). For the Big Three, it’ll be two (titles). And for me it’ll be Big No. 5. That’s the only thing that I’ll focus on right now.’ O’Neal has also passed an early judgment on his team. ‘This is a great team, the best I’ve been on,’ he said. ‘They’ve got a lot of great weapons on this team, so on any given night anybody can be the leading scorer. . . . Yes, the best team. As far as players, as far as guys being really close. I know we’ve only been at this for two months, but hopefully the outcome will be a good one.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “Delonte West spent less than five full games in uniform before bad luck struck the troubled guard again. In the midst of sparking his lethargic team in the second quarter against the Nets, West was knocked off balance by New Jersey’s Travis Outlaw on a drive to the basket, sustaining a broken right wrist. While it’s unclear how long West will be out, the club is preparing for him to miss at least three months. Coach Doc Rivers and team president Danny Ainge both mentioned West being ready for the playoffs in April. ‘It’s broken for sure,’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ‘Don’t know anything else more than that; a compound fracture most likely. But that’s going to be a long time, let’s just put it that way.’ … Ainge said the club will not immediately search for another guard. ‘We like our guys, and Avery [Bradley] is starting to get healthy and Avery and Von are going to have to step up and play,’ Ainge said. ‘In order to make a move we’d have to let someone go and we like our guys. It’s tragic for Delonte. Basketball is a very important part of his life. I hate to see this happen. But Delonte will be able to return late in the season to help us.’”
Jessica Camerato, CSNNE – “On Wednesday night Delonte West broke his wrist on a drive to the basket. Rivers projects West could be sidelined until the playoffs, leaving a gap in the Celtics backcourt. Enter Wafer. Wafer started the fourth quarter and played during a five-minute stretch in which the Celtics went on a critical 9-4 run. Even though his box score reads zeros in every category, he provided a necessary spark off the bench. ‘Von Wafer — his stat line’s going to say he did basically nothing — I thought his defensive energy was phenomenal,’ said Rivers. ‘It was great for Von in the locker room. Everybody was grabbing him . . . because ‘defense’ and ‘Von’ can now go together. And that’s a great thing.’”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, supported by the 25-point, 11-rebound work of Shaquille O’Neal, took charge down the stretch. But Daniels’ modest numbers (four points, four assists, three rebounds) belied his ability to fill a gaping hole with a series of game-saving plays. ‘I thought he really changed the game,’ Pierce said. ‘I thought his length really bothered the point guards. In the pick-and-roll he was able to get over and under and switch it up. He just showed his versatility – some of the things he can do when he gets in the game. He usually doesn’t guard point guards, but we know he is capable of guarding two, three, four positions,’ he said. ‘They were great in the pick-and-roll in the first half against us, and in the second half, once we got him in the game, it really changed things defensively for us.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “On that pass, Allen might as well have been Anfernee Hardaway or Derek Fisher, because it certainly was vintage Shaq. ‘I know I can do [the old stuff], that’s why Danny [Ainge] signed me up and I’m still here,’ he said. ‘That’s why I’ve accomplished so much. At the time I’m not really getting a lot of plays called for me, but guys are dropping it off and I am finishing.’ … ‘He looked like the 2000 Shaq. The ’99 Shaq, the 2001 and 2002 to 2003 to 2004 to 2005 to 2006,’ forward Kevin Garnett joked. ‘He looked fresh tonight. I thought he did a great job of getting us in a bonus early. On this team night in and night out, we are going to have a different guy from [Pierce] to Ray to anybody, and tonight it was Shaq.’”
Frank Dell’Apa, Boston Globe – “This was a game for Shaquille O’Neal to shine, Marquis Daniels to provide quality minutes, and Von Wafer to establish his defensive credentials. But when it counted, the ball was in the hands of the Celtics’ Big Three — Allen, Garnett, and Pierce. The Celtic starters were 8 for 11 from the field in the final quarter, Pierce the only one to miss a shot. Allen was 1 for 3 in the opening half but finished with 15 points and a season-high seven assists. Garnett was off (4 for 12) but kept firing away and landed a jumper from the top of the key off an Allen feed late in the third quarter, then played floor-pounding defense to stop Kris Humphries. Pierce playing point is not a long-term solution, though the Celtics might have to use a similar strategy against Toronto tomorrow, unless Rondo recovers enough for trainer Ed Lacerte to OK him to play. ‘I’m probably less likely, the way things are going,’ Rivers said when asked whether he’d use Rondo against the Raptors. ‘I’m serious about that. Unless Eddie says [Rondo’s] feeling great. And I know Rondo, so we’re going to have to really have a long talk for him to play.’”
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