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.
Erden got thrust into an even greater role Friday when Shaquille O'Neal departed in the first quarter with a sore right hip, Erden responded by making all five shots he attempted (most of the dunk variety) in an energy-filled 30 minutes that saw him score a career-high 14 points, while adding seven rebounds, three steals, and a block.
“[Erden] played great," said Rivers. "He was just -– he was physical, he played hard. Again, when Semih just plays hard and does his job, he helps us. And, you know, sometimes sitting down a little bit reminds him of that — reminds you that you want to play. And he’s doing that. We’re going to need him probably in the next couple games."
With Rivers hinting Shaq could be sidelined for a bit with the hip injury, Erden has the potential to rejoin the starting lineup, a spot he held down in the absence of both O'Neals during a four-game stretch in early December. By starting Erden, the Celtics can keep top reserve Glen Davis in a sixth-man role he's thrived in this season and further protect Erden by keeping him on the court with Boston's best players.
"Playing with the starters helps, too," said Rivers. "That’s why we started Semih in the second half instead of Baby. Because it gives him protection in some ways. So that always helps. I think it forces you to play harder when you play with that group because [Kevin Garnett is] out there and he demands it."
It appears as though the fall Shaq took on the ice at his home has finally caught up to him. He's going to miss tonight's gave versus the Wizards and I wouldn't be surpised if he sits Tuesday versus Cleveland (two games the Celtics should win easily in his absence).
I like Doc's logic regarding playing Semih Erden with the starters. They protect and motivate him. I'd hustle my ass off so I wouldn't have KG screaming in my face.
Semih is raw and he sometimes plays with six thumbs, but I enjoy his one-handed dunks. It's a lost art, especially among big men.
On Page 2, Doc wanted Al Jefferson to be like Moses Malone.
Jefferson, now Utah’s primary post force, said last night he still has the tape.
“I gave it to him because I wanted him to play like that,” said Rivers, who saw similarities between the two players early on. “I just thought rebounding-wise and with some of his post moves, Moses was really unorthodox, and Al is like that, too. I thought it would be a great guy for him to watch, especially to watch how hard Moses played.
“(Jefferson) is older now,” he said. “I don’t watch Al as much, but he’s still growing as a player. He’s one of the better post players in the league.
“Now I think he has the timing better,” said Rivers. “One thing we worked on with Al was when he caught the ball he went so quick, and that’s when the turnovers happened. You can see he’s figured out the NBA pace and speed.” . . .
When Al was in Boston, I thought he had the potential to be a top 20 player in the league. Even though he's only 26, I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen.
I just haven't seen the necessary improvement in his game. Sure he's better, but he's just too unorthodox to be dominant. My thinking was… he would smooth out that unorthodox style. It hasn't happened.
The rest of the links:
MWDN – Jazz out of tune in Boston | Allen closing in on record | Globe – Garnett has healthy outlook on season | Celtics look sound vs Jazz | CSNNE – Ball movement, trust prevail for Cs | Starters enjoy well deserved rest | Reserve 3 play big role for Cs | Celtics keep Jazz out of tune |
Editor's note: I'm begging the headline writers and reporters to stop with the musical refererences when the Celtics play Utah. It's the same cliches year after year after year. Your readers will applaud you.