Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
During an end-of-practice scrimmage on Tuesday, Kevin Garnett had the ball on the block and tossed a no-look pass around the basket to Shaquille O'Neal who didn't see it coming.
The pass sailed out of bounds just past O'Neal's hands.
"It's getting there," said O'Neal when asked about the team's timing. "I've been on teams where we get it right away, and I've been on teams when we get it at the right time."
Those are the kind of plays that, with more floor time together, will result in easy scores.
"Every game you step on and you sweat, it's a real game," Garnett said. "You're out there trying to get something done. We're trying to work on some things during the preseason. [Wednesday's] game is the first game we have to do that."
Still, Garnett has been pleased with the growth and comfort level of the Celtics thus far in training camp.
"We enjoy each other which is a rarity, as you guys are probably seeing," Garnett said. "But it's a quick mix, it's a quick chemistry bond. Guys are linking."
We're flat out giddy about the game tonight. In fact, we'd like to remind you about our live blog tonight starting at 7:30. Swing by, hop into our chat, and let's watch the first game together.
Jermaine O'Neal is out for a week. Delonte West's back issues seem to be gone, and he is expected to play.
Things to watch for tonight: How KG is moving around the court. Let's see if he's as explosive as everyone says. We're also watching to see how Shaq is moving around. Delonte's praises have been sung all camp long… so we'll see how he handles the team when he's in. And, of course, we're looking for clues to the battle for the last roster spot. Von Wafer and Mario West seem to be the final combatants… so we'll be watching those guys closely.
I know it doesn't count for much tonight… but we're excited for it. Basketball is back, baby!
On Page 2: It's all about the second unit
"I think our second unit could be a starting team somewhere," Shaquille O'Neal said. "We have a lot of talented guys there. It's going to be a fun year."
While Rivers said again yesterday that the fifth starting spot could vary between O'Neals, he is confident that whichever way he goes the reserves will play a bigger role than they have since the start of the new Big 3 era.
"This year our second unit is a good unit," he said. "In the championship year, we had times when we went nine or 10 deep. But we really haven't since then. This year we are going to have five other guys on the floor who can play. To get through the regular season and still win games, we are really going to have to extend minutes on the bench this year."
“I want to make a good impression,” West said after yesterday’s practice. “I want to show these guys that I can win and contribute. Ten games is a lot of games. It’s only two weeks in reality, but it’s still a lot of games I’m going to miss. With the suspension I have to be out of the locker room, and out of the building two hours in advance (of games).
“The important thing is pregames, and guys warming up, pregame huddles, and the first speech (coach) Doc (Rivers) will give before Game 1. Those are the things I’m going to miss, and those are the important things. That’s why going into the preseason I have to take as much as I can.”
West will be eligible to play on Nov. 17 – ironically enough just in time for his return to his last city, Cleveland.
“Nov. 17 I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “No question I have it circled. It’s on the refrigerator.”
This is where we'll win or lose a series against Miami. The Heat's starters, obviously 3 of those starters in particular, will be pretty difficult to deal with. But after that, there is a precipitous drop-off in talent.
That's where the Celtics bench will have its time to shine. And remember, by the time we get to a Heat series, Jermaine O'Neal will be part of the bench mob too. That's a lot of size off the bench to go along with some really explosive scoring potential in Nate Robinson and Delonte West.
Of course, this is all theoretical right now. We do need to see how it all works in action… starting tonight.
I think all the Delonte stuff is the most pleasant surprise of all so far. I knew he'd come in and probably fit in well… but all the reaction to his play and work ethic is way more than I ever expected. It'll be interesting to see how he does this preseason.
The rest of the links
Herald: Shaq tells the Truth | Erden talks Turkey | Dwight Howard shows off new arsenal | CSNNE: Catching up with Brian Scalabrine part 2 | Jermaine O'Neal on his road to Boston | Filling Perkins' role on C's | Perk, motivated by Welker, targets February | ESPN Boston: Getting up to Celtics speed | Practice report: DWest back in action