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.
First, there was the most anticipated season opener in NBA history, against the Heat, followed by a trip to Cleveland for the biggest trap game. The Celtics got a day of rest yesterday before they host the new-look Knicks tonight. There are back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday at Detroit and in Boston against the Bucks. After a home game against the Bulls next Friday, the Celtics go on the road for four straight against Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami, and Memphis.
“When you read the list of teams we’re playing our first 10 games, it’s a brutal list,’’ Rivers said.
Fast starts have been the Celtics’ signature the past three seasons, but this time it may be more difficult.
The schedule isn’t on their side, and neither are the circumstances. They’ll have to go through that tough 10-game stretch without Delonte West, the floor general of their second unit, because of his 10-game league suspension stemming from gun charges last year.
“That’s a big concern, how we’re going to get through that stretch,’’ Rivers said.
That four-game road stretch is going to be tough. Those are all decent teams and the Celtics will have a tough time dealing with the emotion of facing Tony Allen for the first time in Memphis (go ahead… laugh… that last part was a joke).
I can't say this enough though: Just be healthy. Just get through it the best way to keep your team healthy. That means increased bench minutes on the second half of back-to-backs. That means more Semih and less Shaq on back-to-backs. That means minutes limits on the Big 3.
Whatever you need to do. I'll take a lost to Milwaukee. I'll take a loss in Dallas. I'm much less concerned with the first 10 games of the season than I am the last 10… or the first 10 games of the playoffs.
We've learned our lesson from last year. And until Delonte comes back and Jermaine O'Neal figures it out, the Celtics are playing shorthanded.
The funny thing is… the Celtics could finish that stretch 10-0 or 5-5. We just don't know how some guys will respond yet.
On Page 2, Shaq helps KG
“I love Shaquille in the locker room,” Pierce said. “The one guy he’s making better on and off the court is Kevin. You can just tell with Kevin’s attitude, he’s a lot more loose than he’s ever been. Kevin really listens to a lot of things Shaq has to say because they’ve been through their wars together and I know Kevin has a lot of respect for Shaq and what he’s done in this league, as do all of us. His presence has really helped us out as a ballclub, in the locker room and on the court.”
I'm going to agree with Jay King at Celtics Town by saying that even though Shaq's 38, he makes this team younger at heart because of how loose he is.
I don't want KG to change how he is on game night or anything… but he might benefit from chilling out a little otherwise. Just a little. A smidge, maybe.
A lot was said about Shaq joining this team. People said he'd be disruptive on and off the floor and neither has been the case. He's been great. And to hear he's helping KG just adds to it.
So far, so good with Shaq. His performance might vary, but his attitude has been great.
The rest of the links
Herald: C's not taking loss, or foes, lightly | Globe: Knicks thumbnails | CSNNE: C's aren't at a loss after pratfall | ESPN Boston: Mailbag: Here we go again? | Finding their (mid) range | Doc on D&C: "We have a chance to be really special"