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.
After making the 52-mile drive from Indianapolis, Doc Rivers entered hallowed Assembly Hall last night not as the Celtics coach checking out NBA prospect Talor Battle of Penn State. He was there as a Hoosier dad, watching a game during his son’s senior season.
[…] Doc Rivers watched attentively, sitting about 15 rows above the Indiana bench as Jeremiah was trying to contain the guard duo of Battle and Tim Frazier. Jeremiah is 23 and has NBA aspirations, and the significance of his father’s attendance was not lost on him. Doc Rivers conducted Celtics practice in the mid-afternoon and then hustled to Bloomington in time for the 6:30 start.
“Seeing him always hypes me up,’’ Jeremiah said after the game. “He always makes efforts to show up, especially this year. This is my last year playing college and obviously I’ll be going forth and playing ball, hopefully in the NBA. But right now, he knows these times are precious. You don’t get these back with your kids, and he’s already been to five games, darn near double what he did last year.’’
Family was a huge reason why Doc Rivers was contemplating not coming back this season… so it's good to see him finding ways to get out there and see his kids.
But you've got to wonder how much all the travel weighs on him. He finds ways to get to Jeremiah's games… he finds ways to get to Austin's games… he finds ways to see his daughter play volleyball…. all while coaching the C's. Luckily, he's got a great staff and veterans who know what needs to be done. But look at the lengths he goes to:
“He came to my championship games in high school. He’s taken private jets at 2 a.m. to get to our games the next day. I know it’s difficult. It’s tiring. It’s stressing, but he loves us. The biggest thing is we all understand.’’
You wonder how much longer he really wants to do all this. Austin will be at Duke next year and it might be his only year in school. I'm not trying to start the worrying about Doc after this year… but stories like this just raise the concern. It's a great story about a dedicated dad and an understanding family. But at some point, the traveling all over is too tiring. Selfishly, I hope Doc's got at least a couple more years of doing it left in him.
On Page 2: Transition D is the key
Not surprisingly, the 23-5 Celtics have been pretty good this season limiting their opponents' fast-break points. In fact, Boston is outscoring its opponents on the break by an average of four points per game.
But when there are lapses, it bites the Celtics. That's what happened in Saturday's loss to Orlando, when the Magic finished with 20 fast-break points (nearly double what Boston typically allows). Orlando generated nearly a quarter of its points in transition (while shooting just 39.5 percent for the game).
"For us, it's all about transition defense," Rivers said last week before a game against thePhiladelphia 76ers. "Honestly, we talked about it and it's an area of slippage for us right now that we have to correct. If you don't correct it, it could be a long night."
When the Celtics turn it over as much as they do… they'd better be able to get back on D.
The good thing… and I've only got my eyes to back me up on this… is that it seems a bulk of the C's turnovers come along the baseline. I don't recall a ton of turnovers on the perimeter… which lead to the 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 breaks that lead to transition points. A lot of turnovers come closer to the basket when either Rondo tries to make a crazy entry pass or someone lose the ball making a move.
It's still not great to turn the ball over… but at least down there you have more guys that can get back and disrupt a fast break.
I could be wrong, but I'm just going off of what I remember.
The other thing the C's are doing is ACTUALLY getting back on D. They don't give up on D and peel off when guys are laying it in. Paul Pierce is actually displaying a little chase-down block ability… which shows the commitment to D.
Obviously, if the C's get lazy… or if they spend too much time yapping at refs… teams will score in transition. But if they do what they've been doing, then the C's will be just fine.
The rest of the links:
Herald: C's need to avoid annual winter slide | MWDN: C's hope to flip post-Christmas script | CSNNE: Garnett relishing his resurgence this season | Robinson trying to be himself at new position | ESPN Boston: C's-Magic see ratings boost | Celtics Blog: C's rebounding from last year