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.
And before he finishes his sentence, he grins, " . . . no pain, no gain."
The ability to play in pain does not come as a surprise to Shaquille O'Neal, who has been pleased with the way Erden has handled himself in practice and in games.
"You have to understand who he is and where he comes from, and how [Turkish players] think," O'Neal said. "Strong person; he's a strong-minded person. Some days are better than others. He'll suck it up and play through it."
"He's taken a beating this year, a typical rookie year," said Rivers. "For a big, it probably hurts more that he has to practice with [Shaquille O'Neal], Kevin [Garnett], and [Glen Davis]. I don't think that makes it any easier for him at all.
"We don’t know if he's embracing it, we just know he’s getting hit. Even if he's not trying to get hit, he’s getting hit anyway in our practices. Overall, he's handling it pretty well. I think the language barrier helps on that, because when he complains to me about it, I don't understand what he’s saying. So that’s good, too. I think he’ a physical player by nature, anyway. The Europeans do have that label [of being soft], but I don’t think Semih goes by that, I think he’s more of an Argentinian — that whole group of guys are as aggressive as you can get."
It's been all about Semih over the past 12 hours or so around here. And deservedly so. The guy is playing with what is probably a torn labrum, which isn't comfortable. Despite that, he's stepping up and giving the C's meaningful minutes while other bigs (a.k.a. the O'Neals) have trouble playing in games. And he's doing it all as a rookie. Amazing, really, when you think of how Doc stays away from rookies.
Semih was a huge topic on last night's Two Man Game with A. Sherrod Blakely.
By the way, check out the show just for the 5 minutes I had with Sherrod to talk about his Bill Russell piece… which expanded to some talk of Boston's racist reputation and how it affects players thinking of signing here. Very compelling stuff.
On Page 2: KG's rested, feeling good, and still intense
“Rest is everything,” Garnett said. “And being healthy is another thing. I don’t like speaking about my own personal health, because everybody in the league has something they’re dealing with, and I was no different from it. Obviously, you can see the difference in the play. I have a little pep in my step, I’ve got a little bounce in my hop. And it feels good.
“A lot of times last year I was playing subpar guys, man, and they were getting by me, doing different things to where I knew that if I was 100 percent, no way that some of those things were happening. To be honest, I’m blessed. It’s something I have to deal with every day. But you can see the difference. You can see the difference. The confidence is there. When you get hurt — one of the things I’ve never had to battle was dealing with health issues to where it damages and messes with your confidence. I’m a very confident person. I would be lying if I said it didn’t test me. But it made me a stronger person mentally.”
The addition of Shaquille O’Neal to the roster brought a unique personality to Boston. The high-intensity Garnett was asked if he agreed that Shaq has lightened the mood in the locker room.
“Unfortunately, I do [agree],” Garnett said. “I don’t like my mood to be lightened too much, man. I like to have an edge. When I take the floor, I like to be a certain way. I don’t do well when I’m giddy and kind of light. I do well when I’m dark and sort of concentrated. When I’m locked in, I look at myself as a threat. I don’t want to be too lighthearted when I go out there. Shaq is the opposite. He likes things light. He likes to keep you laughing. He likes the mood to be light.
“I think from [Doc Rivers'] perspective — or anybody’s perspective — they tend to think that I’m too intense at times. And I can understand that. But hey, man, this is my makeup. This is who I am. This is what I’ve been for a long time. It’s gotten me to this point. Like anybody else’s personality it’s who they are. This is my makeup. This is who I am.”
What else can I say about this other than I'm just so thrilled that this KG is back.
You can tell he's pissed beyond belief at guys like Andray Blatche for torching him last season. He's not what he used to be, but he's not that bad, either.
To paraphrase Sherrod from last night's show: KG's got a bucket list… and as he gets back at all the lesser talent that got to him last season, he's checking the names off.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Lasme out indefinitely after surgery | WEEI: C's-Wizards earns record rating | Herald: Semih thankful for Shaq | Shaq exceeds expectations | MWDN: C's face tough task of stopping Durant | Erden getting a chance to play right away | Washington Post: Doc offers advice to John Wall