The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Ken Berger, CBS Sports – “‘I think I killed off all the centers and now all the centers want to play the European-style basketball,’ O’Neal said before watching the Celtics beat the Knicks 104-101 in Stoudemire’s Garden debut. “There’s only 1.5 or 2 real centers left, Dwight Howard and Yao Ming. Every now and then Yao Ming steps outside and wants to shoot jumpers, but it’s gone more toward the European style. The days of Patrick Ewing and Rik Smits and Kevin Duckworth and Robert Parish, those days are over, thanks to me.’ Someone asked if a center can still be a difference-maker in today’s NBA, and Shaq said, ‘No. Not shooting jumpers.’ But in a playoff series? ‘Yeah, guys like Dwight Howard and Yao Ming, guys that have youth behind them,’ O’Neal said. ‘I’ve never lost a series to a guy shooting jumpers — besides Pau [Gasol], but Pau has a couple of extra weapons with him. There hasn’t been a center that has won shooting jumpers. Pau is 60-40 — 60 inside and 40 shooting jumpers. So I think the centers are getting a little more Pau Gasolish.’ … ‘If I did have an individual goal, it probably would be to pass Wilt Chamberlain in scoring,’ O’Neal said. ’ … Then I could feel comfortable with myself saying that I was the most dominant player if I had more championships and more points than him. But I don’t have any individual goals that I’m going for. I’m just trying to get No. 5 this year.’”
Howard Beck, New York Times – “Mozgov surely avoided a more bruising N.B.A. introduction when the Celtics’ other O’Neal (Shaquille) decided to rest his sore right hip — “my arthritic, 28,000-point-scoring hip,” as he called it. O’Neal is likely to play when the Knicks and Celtics meet again Saturday in Hartford.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “In spite of the newness of his life in the pros, Erden found something he had known well since childhood — his favorite NBA player, Shaquille O’Neal. ’He’s unbelievable,’ Erden told CSNNE.com. ‘I think he’s a big star, so I like to play with him. This is a big chance for me.’ … ‘When I watched him play for the Lakers, he was amazing,’ he said. ‘He dunked it every time. Everybody guarded him, two or three (defenders), but it was nothing for him.’ … Even though Erden didn’t try to re-create O’Neal’s moves growing up, he has learned a few of them now that he has the big man live and in front of him. But there is still one move that Erden has yet to pull off on his childhood hero. ‘I think one time [dunked on me],’ he said. ‘I’m ok [with that]. He’s my friend. He’s my brother. No problem.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “But when you see how different Robinson is now with the Celtics, his sometimes-selfish ways with the Knicks appear more like a byproduct of being on a seemingly sometimes-selfish team. One of the biggest differences now with Robinson is his willingness to be more of a lead guard who runs the offense, rather than an undersized scorer. ‘I can get my shot pretty much whenever I want to,’ Robinson told CSNNE.com. ‘But that’s both a blessing and a curse. When I come in, I’m coming in for Rondo and those are some pretty big shoes to fill. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help lead this team when I’m out there.’ Balancing his ability to score with setting up his teammates, is indeed a work in progress. However, Robinson looks as though he’s getting a better feel on how to make it work.”
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe – “Delonte West’s road trip was cut short for precautionary reasons. The back spasms that have nagged West the past two weeks led the Celtics to send him home before last night’s game. West, who said it felt as if he had a pinched nerve in his lower back, missed practice two days before the preseason opener against the 76ers in New Hampshire last Wednesday. He also had to leave the game against the Nets last Thursday when spasms flared up at halftime. West was one of several players Rivers decided to rest Tuesday night against the Sixers in Philadelphia. ‘We sent him home just to get checked and get his back ready,’ said Rivers. ‘Hopefully he’ll play in either Hartford [Saturday] or one of the other games.’”
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports - ”The biggest stars can be some of the NBA’s most emotional gripers, and they ought dare Stern and his refs to start tossing them out of regular season games. The league office loves to bully, but never has the stomach for a true fight. Let’s see how fast the public repudiates the NBA and this false premise born of phony market research. Dare these officials, dare Stern, to reward what will be the toughest opening-night ticket ever – and the biggest TV audience – with ejections in the Boston-Miami game. Go ahead and dare them to toss LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Garnett. Go ahead and challenge Stern the way he’s challenged them. The commissioner has increased the fines on ejections too, and two players agents told Yahoo! Sports they hope the union contests the legality of it within the collective bargaining agreement. … The commissioner is losing a grip on a younger, brasher generation of owners, and losing the respect of his players. Once, the players saw Stern as a kind of Don, a Godfather they had to respect. Once, they saw him as the commissioner of the NBA. Over time, he became just the commissioner of the owners. This is one more show of muscle for a commissioner who’s never had less within his sport. … This is pure politics and posturing, the last stand of a commissioner who refuses to let the beginnings of a historic season breathe. The NBA fans wanted this, Stern says, and all those yes-men surrounding him in midtown Manhattan assuredly gave the commissioner one more standing ovation. Just understand, David Stern is the max-out NBA star who’d never survive a day on the job with his new rules, who’s asking of his sport something he’d never, ever ask of himself: restraint and grace.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t need a clarification on exactly what Garnett did to get tossed. ‘Listen, the rules are the rules. We have to have more discipline,’ Rivers said. ‘Whether he deserved it or not, I think . . . both sides have use our judgment a little bit better. It’s not just, it shouldn’t be just a tech. Having said that, we know the rules and we have to have discipline.’ More technicals by the officials means players will play with less passion. Less passion makes for a less interesting game. A less interesting game means fewer will tune in; or worse, even care. Before you know it, the NBA is back to practically begging fans to see their product. ‘The refs, they’re making a statement here in the preseason,’ said Pierce, who along with Rivers and Jermaine O’Neal, were celebrating their birthday on Wednesday. ‘But players are going to adjust. I didn’t think he warranted getting kicked out. But hey, they’re making a stand here in the preseason. By the time the season starts, we have to make an adjustment. We’ll be fine.’”
Ken Berger, CBS Sports – “O’Neal was called for a foul while defending Knicks center Timofey Mozgov with 4:39 left in the second quarter of the Celtics’ 104-101 victory. O’Neal described the following exchange with official Zach Zarba. ‘I walked up to him and he said, ‘Jermaine, walk away,’’ O’Neal said. ‘I said, ‘I can’t talk to you now?’ Just like that. Soft, bedroom voice. And he gave me a tech. … To me, that’s too quick. Way too quick.’ Seconds later, noted loudmouth Kevin Garnett was whistled for a tech by referee Kane Fitzgerald, and then for another one, resulting in an ejection. Those two extremes, seconds apart in a preseason game played just a few city blocks from NBA headquarters, highlighted the problem David Stern has with his latest attempt to sanitize the league. ‘I see what the league is trying to do with the consistent talking to the refs all the way down the court,’ O’Neal said. ‘I can understand that aspect of it. But when guys walk up and ask, ‘What did I do?’ We should be able to do that.’”
Evans Clinchy, NESN – “‘We can’t worry about them,’ Rivers said of the officials. ‘We have to be better. You know, the first tech on J.O., he got it and he walked away. The first tech on Kevin, he got it and he didn’t. Whether he said anything or not, whether he deserved it, it doesn’t matter. We know the rules, and we have to respect the rules.’ … ‘I think they’ll have to take a second look and just see how it affects the game, especially the stars,’ Pierce said. “You know, people pay good money to come out and see the stars play. And even though we have to play within the rules, I think there has to be some kind of leniency. When a guy turns and just looks at you for a technical, that can cost you a game, or at least that can cost you a player coming out of the game. I think they have to take a second look, really hard, and understand that this is an emotional game. Players are going to use emotion, and that’s never going to stop.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “Shaq left New York reporters grinning from the get-go when he shrugged off questions about Russian rookie Timofey Mozgov. ‘What Russian guy?’ Shaq responded when asked about Mozgov. ‘What’s his name? No, I don’t know who he is.’ Mozgov shouldn’t take it personally. Remember, Shaq is the same guy who didn’t know who Luke Harangody was when his contract signing was announced at Shaq’s introductory press conference, and O’Neal affectionately referred to Semih Erden as “the Turkish dude” or “the Turkish cat” for the first couple weeks of the preseason.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “When Kevin Garnett at first balked at a trade to Boston, a prominent sports columnist and commentator blamed the city’s poor reputation in racial matters. Doc Rivers challenged the claim at the time and said the difficulty in attracting players was due to the fact the Celtics simply weren’t very good. Boston’s issues were one thing; the Celtics’ problems were more germane. One championship and several key acquisitions later, his comments seem rather prescient. This past offseason, the Celtics and Boston were attractive enough that Shaquille O’Neal accepted the veteran minimum to play for the club and deal with rotaries.”
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald – “Paul Pierce had a couple of reasons to stick the game-winning jumper against the New York Knicks last night. ’Basically I’ve got an 11 o’clock reservation I have to make, so I didn’t want to stay any longer than I had to,’ Pierce said of the 104-101 preseason victory over the Knicks. ‘And it’s my (33rd) birthday, so I wanted to try to get this over with.’ The game was tied at 101 when Pierce isolated on Anthony Randolph and connected from a step inside the 3-point arc with 8 seconds left. Rajon Rondo blocked an Andy Rautins trey attempt to pretty much wrap up the win. Coach Doc Rivers (49) and Jermaine O’Neal (32) were also celebrating birthdays. The birthday celebrants cut a cake and were serenaded after the game.”
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