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.
“We’re normally the instigators, but we’ve been getting kind of a dose of our own medicine in the last few games,” guard Delonte West said.
“It was serious intensity in here today. It was almost playoff intensity in practice. For a little bit, he was trying to give KG (Kevin Garnett) some rest, and he wanted to be on the floor. Around this time of the year, normally veteran guys — you know, All-Star veteran guys — they’ll take all the rest they can get. So that made a big statement, him not even wanting to come off the floor. I mean, they had to literally drag him off the floor. That made a statement on where the intensity was today.
There goes KG again… leading by example again. How much can I gush about this guy's leadership?
Any time one of your best players can get out there and remind everyone where the bar exists, it's a great thing. Right now, where this team is, I'd rather KG go hard in practice a little more often and then play a little less. This team has too many new guys… they need the cohesion in practice. The engine needs a tune up.
It happens to the best of teams. The Celtics don't hold many practices anymore because they only have so many miles in their legs. But lack of practice leads to… say it with me now… slippage. Things fall out of whack. And I've never seen as many of the Celtics' passes tipped as I have lately. It just shows they're just not as precise as they once were. And when Ray's coming off screens, the ball needs to be there right away. If its even a half-second late, its the difference between Ray getting a shot off or the defender recovering.
So it's good the C's practiced. Let's see if the team follows KG's lead and executes on the court tonight.
On Page 2: KG thinks the C's can still be physical
"What people fail to realize is Perk was one of the parts of our team that made us really, really good. Made us tough," Garnett said. "We had built that chemistry and rapport with him. With Perk we had a style of play that worked for us. We're playing without the Big Fella and we're playing without JO. To say we're not playing with the same physical presence, you're right. We don't. Because Perk was a real physical presence. But we also have on our roster Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal. I really want to see us full throttle. I really want to see everybody on the roster, on the team, on the bench playing minutes, rotations. Delonte [West] got hurt, he was out. JO got hurt, he was out. JO came back, Shaq got hurt, he was out. It was just one thing after another. I want to see us full throttle. Yes, losing Perk did cost us some physicality but we have enough physical presence on this team that I think we can endure."
I've been saying this a lot lately: The Perk trade is going to keep coming up until this season is over no matter what. Fairly or unfairly, it's lingering there underneath everything the C's do. The only way to get rid of that is to win a title.
Because honestly, if the C's don't win, then it carries into next season. If the C's fail… and even worse…. if they fail against the Lakers because of the Lakers' size… then we're going to hear "Perkins" in our nightmares.
But at full strength (I know, I know… just humor me), the C's have a lot of that toughness. At full strength, the C's are the C's from earlier this season when they were ROLLING with a couple of upgrades in Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Will the Celtics ever get to "full" strength? I don't know. But we're getting players back. And the O'Neals really do seem to be close to return. So we'll see.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Eye on the (home court) prize | West sore, but feels good to be back | PTI debates Celtics' struggles | WEEI: Failing first quarter | Ainge: J. O'Neal could be back next week | CSNNE: Celtics to face lots of desperate foes | Shaq fitted with boot, could still return April 1 | ProbasketballTalk: Daniels to have spinal cord surgery | Herald: Shaq ok after shot | MWDN: Return of O'Neals key for C's