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.
The edge the Celtics have had a difficult time replicating was on full display in every action by their former center.
“It’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer,” Rivers said of whether his team can bring back the Perkins element to their game without the big guy, himself. “I really don’t. We don’t have Shaq (O’Neal) yet. We get that when he’s on the floor. But we don’t have him or (Jermaine O’Neal). Perk is a menacing-looking dude. Last night he was tossing bodies left to right. It was awesome. That’s just who Perk is.”
First, I'm not sure that's written very fairly to Doc Rivers because, to me, it makes it sound like Doc walked out of his office wiping a tear from his cheek as he opened up to reporters about missing Perk's toughness on this team.
What probably actually happened was a reporter brought up the game, Doc nodded, and answered in typical Doc fashion while referencing what he saw the other night. Which still means he misses what Perk brought to this team, but it paints the picture a smidge differently.
Yes, the Celtics miss his toughness. They don't have that guy that will "toss bodies around"… at least not until Shaq comes back (which supposedly could be any day now). So the C's are going to have to figure something else out. You can't sit there and bemoan the fact that someone is gone… you just have to adjust.
So stop looking for one of these new guys to bring the "Perk element" back. It's gone because he's gone. We need to figure out how to use the "Krstic element" better and hopefully get the "O'Neal elements" back and ready for the playoffs. Any other elements don't matter anymore because they're gone. Don't fit square pegs into round holes. Work with what you got… not with what you had or wish you had.
Related links: CSNNE: Celtics hope toughness rubs off on new guys
On page 2: Doc's delicate balancing act
It's no easy task, and Rivers fully admits he's often conflicted about how to proceed.
"We don't have a great rhythm [right now], we're getting it back," Rivers said. "I screwed it up a little bit by forcing the [newcomers] onto the floor, because I'm trying to get them minutes. We're going to need some of them. But it doesn't just take [the newcomers] out of their rhythm, it takes the guys we've had out of their rhythms. And, on top of that, we're struggling."
Picture a nice, flowing river. The water just travels along, barely making a sound, flowing nice and calm.
Now throw a bunch of big rocks in that river. All of a sudden everything is disrupted… water is now splashing on the rocks… it's gotta find a new way around. It just looks turbulent.
That's what happened with the Celtics. Everything is a little more turbulent than it was before. The C's have to find a new way. And while initially its going to be rough, the water always ends up smoothing out the rough edges of the rocks. In time, things start to flow more naturally again. The Celtics and their system will take over… in time.
Whether there's enough time to get it right in time for a championship… we're going to have to wait and see. But the C's system IS strong enough to get that done.
Did Doc force things a little by thrusting new guys in there? Maybe. He may also be deflecting some of the negativity away from his team. He's doing what a good coach does. But these guys will figure it out.
The rest of the links
CSNNE: Sources: Frank a frontrunner for Vols job | ESPN Boston: Hot Button: Who gets the top seed? | Jockeying for position | WEEI: Race for top seed in the East takes shape | Globe: Showing good signs | Grizzlies thumbnails | (Pierce Blog) Winter's OK, but spring is my favorite | MWDN: Celtics battling for homecourt advantage