The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Kevin Garnett, Anta – “When I’m not playing, I hate talking hoops, so sorry for not blogging. You know how when you ain’t a part of something, it hurts to talk about it. That’s how I feel. Know what I mean? Don’t get it messed up, just cause I ain’t playing don’t mean I’m not working out. I’m working super hard and feeling good. Didn’t get to tell you about the tough game against San Antonio we had on Wed. Game was CRAZY. We were up 9 with 57 seconds and we somehow almost blew it. They had the ball down by 2 with 7 seconds left. It was crazy how it happened. P2 got the block to save the win and Rondo had a triple double. Big game by him. He was doing amazing stuff. Friday we had Toronto and young fella Luke played great. He stepped up and had a double double (17pts and 11 rebounds). He’s hard working and knows how to play. If he keeps working hard, he’ll be good. It was nice to get the starters some rest and let the young guys play. We won by a bunch, so it was nice. After the game, Dr. looked at my leg and we’re close. Real close to getting back. Took the flight to Chicago and got in at 2am, so watch a movie and then shut it down. Chicago is a city I lived in, so always have a special place for Chi-town. Pre game, I worked out at the arena in the Bull’s workout room. Anytime I get to workout around another team, my gas gets going. I was killing the weights and wanted to play. When I was in there, Scal (Scalabrine old teammate) came in and got me going even more. Good to see him. I don’t know how to describe the game as the guys energy was low, the ball was ‘sticking’ and not popping around. Guys were not doing their jobs. Frustrating watching and not being able to help. We played 6games in 9 days, so the guys need a break. Off day tomorrow for them, but I’ll be getting my stuff in. The loss just makes me more motivated to get back and help my guys.”
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald – “‘He’s human,’ Rondo said of Davis. ‘It’s going to be a tough challenge every night. It’s never easy, and he has to continue to grow. He has to accept that he won’t play well every night. Maybe it will be the next night,’ he said. ‘But he’s taking that next step to where people are looking at him as a challenge. I just told him to keep working hard, stay humble, and play every night as if it’s your last.’ That, and to also keep these performances in perspective. Davis took more shots than any Celtic Saturday night and also missed more, as evidenced by his 4-for-17 performance. But last Wednesday against a far better San Antonio team, Davis had one of his finest shooting nights of the season with a 23-point, 10-for-18 display. But Saturday’s matchup carried an extra sting because Davis was matched against one of the stars of his position. Boozer, from going right at Davis with nine straight points in the second quarter to banging him with impunity, easily established turf. ‘It didn’t affect me. Just a learning experience for me, especially if I ever want to be on the same type of level as the KGs and the Carlos Boozers,’ said Davis. ‘You guys have seen me grow a lot, and now it’s time to hit a different level, a different notch. Carlos Boozer got the best of it today,’ he said. ‘But at the same time, I want that success. I want all that, being that guy. So I take things in stride, get better each day and keep working. I have to get the credentials to play in this league — to play against the Carlos Boozers and Kevin Loves of this league.’”
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe – “The class of the NBA field has separated itself approaching the halfway point of the season. And as much as teams choose not to acknowledge closely following the progress of their peers, that cannot be denied this season, especially with the Celtics. Boston is skittish after last season, when a fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs meant losing home-court advantage for the final three series of the postseason, especially the NBA Finals. A five-horse race for the top seed in the East appears to be brewing and losses such as Saturday night’s 90-79 drubbing by the Chicago Bulls damage the Celtics’ quest for No. 1. Just five games separate the top five teams in the East, and the conference-leading Celtics (28-8, .778) have been caught by the Heat (30-9, .769), despite Miami’s well-chronicled dismal start. The Orlando Magic, who beat the Celtics on Christmas Day, are winners of nine straight, and the Atlanta Hawks are 8-2 in their past 10. There is an increased emphasis on the regular season, and scoreboard-watching has begun in earnest. Each time one of the other four teams drops a game, Boston realizes it has a chance to create more distance. That’s why the Celtics can’t afford to waste opportunities, such as Saturday night’s.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “A year ago, losses got the same treatment as losing a couple of pennies. It happens. Not that big a deal. But as we near the halfway point of this season, finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference isn’t just lip service. Look no further than Saturday’s 90-79 loss at Chicago. You would have thought the C’s lost Game Three or Four of a playoff series by their glum expressions. ‘We find ways to win these type of games,’ said Paul Pierce, easily bothered more than most by the loss. ‘We don’t concede anything. We don’t say, ‘Six games in nine nights. The last game we don’t give a damn about.’ We’re trying to win them all.’ And it is that desire to not just finish well, but finish atop the Eastern Conference standings, that makes this team unlike the previous units since the C’s Big Three joined forces in 2007.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Screens lead to open looks, which leads to easy baskets. Allen leads the NBA in plays off screens this season, running off screens on 33.7 percent of his touches. Only two players in the NBA use screens for more than 25 percent of their offensive plays — Allen and Chicago’s Kyle Korver. Considering that 17.4 percent of Allen’s touches come in transition and another 20.2 percent are spot-up jumpers, it’s amazing that so many of his offensive looks require his teammates’ grunt work. And on Saturday, his teammates didn’t create space for him, which is why Rivers might again have to stress the importance of screens. ‘It’s a film thing,’ Rivers said. ‘It’s better to reinforce in practice, but when you don’t have practice time, you reinforce it by film — by showing the ones they’re not setting. It’s not the most positive way of doing it, and I’d rather work it out on the floor than using film, because it’s always a negative weapon, but sometimes you do it.’ Saturday’s loss was a reminder of the perils of not putting in that effort. ‘Offensively, from the start of the game, we didn’t create any rhythm,’ Allen said. ‘It is [surprising] because [the offense] has been pretty good. [Saturday] was definitely a break from the normal, from what we were doing offensively. For whatever reason, this was an example of why we lose games. Statistically, it’s so glaring.’ Zero shots for Allen in a fourth quarter that opened as a one-possession game. Credit the Bulls for their ability to chase Allen around the court, but don’t let it screen the truth: Boston sputtered because it didn’t do enough to get Allen and its other shooters open.”
Ken Berger, CBS Sports – “Carmelo Anthony “does not need to be convinced” to sign a contact extension as part of a blockbuster, three-team trade that would send the three-time All-Star to New Jersey, league sources told CBSSports.com Sunday night. One executive involved in the trade talks called Anthony’s stance on an extension with the Nets “a non-factor,” because the teams involved “already know it won’t hold up the deal.” The tipping point in moving Melo toward giving up his preference to wind up with the Knicks was the involvement of the Pistons, who would send Richard Hamilton to the Nets to help Anthony with his reclamation project in Newark, N.J., for the next year-and-a-half. That key component was close to agreement Sunday night, with the Pistons poised to send Hamilton to New Jersey in exchange for Troy Murphy’s expiring contract and Johan Petro — who may go to the Pistons or somewhere else, sources said. Hamilton, who has two years and $25 million left on his deal, was the key cog in a broader plan to entice Anthony to give up his resistance to extending with the Nets instead of insisting on a deal to his preferred destination. The other part of that equation involves Chauncey Billups joining Anthony and reuniting with Hamilton in New Jersey, sources said. The principle pieces New Jersey has offered to the Nuggets all along — Derrick Favors and multiple first-round picks — would still go to Denver in this three-team scenario. The involvement of Billups, who has stated that he wants to retire with the Nuggets, necessitates the Nets sending Devin Harris to the Nuggets. Though Billups would prefer to stay in Denver, a person with direct knowledge of his thinking rejected the notion of the Nets buying him out this season if he is sent to New Jersey in this trade. “Highly unlikely,” the person said. … Despite repeated assurances from Anthony’s camp, the Nets did not yet have approval from Anthony’s mouth as of Sunday night, according to one person familiar with the situation. Last month, a person directly involved in Anthony’s decision told CBSSports.com that the only team he’d agree to an extension with via a trade was the Knicks. There have been no indications from Anthony himself that he has changed his stance. However, given the perceived risk of leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table with a punitive new collective bargaining agreement looming — and with the addition of Hamilton and Billups meaning Anthony wouldn’t have to go it alone in Newark — the Nets and Nuggets are convinced the contractual issue won’t blow up the deal.”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports – “The Nets and Detroit Pistons believed they had an arrangement in place Sunday that would’ve sent Anthony, Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups(notes) and Pistons guard Richard Hamilton(notes) to the Nets as part of the blockbuster deal. Once the Nets and Pistons worked out the details of a side component to the 13-player deal on Sunday afternoon, the two teams were surprised to find Denver general manager Masai Ujiri wanting to replace players in the framework of the overall trade, sources said. Nevertheless, Nuggets officials were angry with the insinuation they had backed away, insisting they never agreed to a scenario where they would complete the deal. As one Denver official told Yahoo! Sports late Sunday, “People are trying to pressure us.” Still, everyone involved in the trade believed the Nuggets had come too far to walk away, and talks continued between Denver’s Ujiri and New Jersey GM Billy King late Sunday.”‘
David Aldridge, NBA.com – “Anthony refused to discuss a potential deal before the Nuggets played New Orleans in Denver on Sunday night. He said afterward he didn’t think a 96-87 loss was his last game in a Nuggets uniform. ‘Uh-uh, not at all,’ he said, repeating the phrase ‘not at all’ four times. Asked if that was an indication he wouldn’t sign the extension so the trade with the Nets could be consummated, Anthony demurred, saying: ‘I haven’t heard anything. Only, that it’s just been speculation as of right now.’ Anthony noted that team executive Josh Kroenke and general manager Masai Ujiri “are not even here, so I don’t see that happening.’ In what time frame was he referring to? ‘I’m just saying I don’t see it happening right now,’ Anthony said. This week sometime? ‘No.’”
Chris Broussard and Marc Stein, ESPN – “Denver, however, elected to play Anthony and Billups in its home game against New Orleans on Sunday night, suggesting that the Nuggets might not be ready to sign off on the trade and, according to sources, frustrating both the Nets and the Pistons at the end of a chaotic 72 hours. A similar scenario played out in the September deal, when the Nets and Nuggets hammered out the framework of a four-team swap with Charlotte and Utah, only for the Nuggets to decide that they weren’t ready to end their relationship with Anthony and back out of the deal. … Denver’s decision to play Anthony and Billups against New Orleans and a Bergen Record report Sunday night that the Nuggets want to make unspecified changes to the latest trade layout clearly rankled the Nets. The Record of New Jersey quoted an unnamed team official within the league as saying: ‘The deal is close. But Denver is looking to hit a home run.’ Earlier Sunday, one source close to the talks told ESPN.com that Sunday’s proposed trade was ‘on the 10-yard-line.’ Said another source with knowledge of the state of negotiations: ‘Almost there.’”
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