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.
C's guard Delonte West was with the Celtics in Washington, yet another example of his return being sooner rather than later.
Injured players don't normally start to travel with the team unless they are relatively close to returning to action.
"There's still a lot of stiffness in the wrist," West told CSNNE.com. "But it's getting better and better everyday. That's the only way I can explain it."
Boston has had a number of games this season in which the use of West would have been helpful.
Saturday's loss to the Wizards was one of those games.
Rajon Rondo had 13 points and nine assists, but he spend significant stretches of the game on the bench with foul trouble.
And his replacement, Nate Robinson, had his struggles scoring (six points on 3-for-8 shooting).
West said as badly as he wants to be out there, he's not trying to rush back too soon.
"When I come back, I want to be back, ready to help this team win games," he said. "I'm patient; trying to be, at least."
I was having a bit of a debate with people on Twitter as I watched Nate struggle (again) out there last night. It started with me asking Sherrod Blakely if Delonte's return would result in some DNP's on Nate's stat sheet. Sherrod said it's too early to tell, but it wouldn't be surprising…. but others chimed in to say Nate would finally get to play the off-guard with Delonte in the game and not worry about being a playmaker.
I can certainly see the argument for that. But right now, Nate is struggling way too much to be playing much for the C's. I love him and his energy… and it's certainly possible he can figure it out when he doesn't have the pressure of distributing to everyone else… but right now he's playing pretty poorly.
And he knows he is, too. He hit a 3 against Utah and you could tell by his reaction that we was almost pleading with himself to keep doing that. He's well aware of his own struggles. And I WANT him to figure it out. So here's hoping that Delonte's continued recovery and impending return can settle the back court down. It might take a couple of Nate DNP's until he gets his regular groove back in practice to get that done… but whatever it takes to maximize our depth at that position.
On Page 2: Pierce wants to defend his title
Paul Pierce said last night he plans to defend his 3-point title on All-Star Saturday in Los Angeles next month.
“A chance to win two in a row and do it in my hometown,” he said, “I think I’ve got to go for that.”
When he won last year in Dallas, a jovial Pierce proclaimed himself one of the best shooters of all-time.
“If I win two in a row, you definitely have to say that,” he added last night as he was kidded by writers.
Pierce made 2-of-4 treys in the 85-83 loss to the Wizards, improving to 42.7 percent from the distance. He came into the game 14th in the league.
Ray Allen, who came in at No. 4, made 2-of-8 to drop from 46 percent to 45.1.
Paul Pierce has adjusted his long range shot over time. Right now, the shot he shoots in the game is the same kind of shot that wins 3 point contests: a reliance on more form and shoulder strength to get the ball to the rim rather than legs.
Some of those other guys in the contest, like Steph Curry, are jump shooters. Those guys are great shooters… but they rely on jumping to get the power to send the ball to the hoop. By the time you get to that last rack, you've jumped a lot and you get tired. Pierce isn't jumping much at all. He can shoot the same shot every time.
So don't be surprised if Pierce wins the contest again. He's evolved a 3 point shot that is perfect for the contest.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Green implode on the road | The NBA's sculptor | CSNNE: Wizards Lewis struggles with losing situation | Celtics spellbound in loss to Wizards | ESPN Boston: Rapid reaction | Globe: C's offense does a disappearing act | Labor strife on Pierce's mind