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.
"Oh my God. Derrick Rose has taken probably 100 notches of a takeoff from where he started," Garnett said. "Nothing has shocked me about anything he's obtained. And the fact that he's taken his team, put it on his back, his progression, the sense that he's still humble to it all, the fact that he's taken his team to the next level. Tom [Thibodeau] putting the guys around him, some quality guys, a good combination of not just good, but older vets, and some younger players around him.
"They look like they play really free minded and knowing Thibs and knowing how he is, I didn't expect anything less than what he's done. So yeah, I'm happy for Derrick, too. He's one of my favorite guys to sit back and watch. A beast to play against, but [he's] one of my favorite guys [in] how he approaches the game."
It's rare for KG to heap such praise on opposing players, but I'm on to him. The old kill-them-with-kindness battle tactic.
Get them feeling really good about themselves before you walk into the United Center and bitch slap the entire city of Chicago.
On Page 2, are we underestimating Jermaine O'Neal's defense?
But there's no mistaking the 6-foot-11 center has made an impact in the one area the Celtics have been sorely lacking since trading away Kendrick Perkins on Feb. 24 — interior defense.
Boston has ranked among the NBA's leaders in scoring defense all season, and are currently tops in the NBA by giving up just 90.8 points per game.
In the last four games — three Celtics wins — that number has dropped to 89.3 points per game. O'Neal has started the last two games, and the Celtics have given up just 86 points per game.
Now that can't all be attributed to the return of O'Neal. But having him back certainly hasn't hurt.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been singing the praises of O'Neal ever since he returned to the lineup.
Jermaine's bar for success was set so low, my two year old could jump over it. But he's helping, and that's all we can ask.
As you'll read later today in my Celtics/Bulls preview, Jermaine's defense of Joakim Noah will be a key factor in tonight's game.
Editor's Note: My apologies for the rather thin Morning Dump, but there really isn't much out there.
The rest of the links:
Herald – Evolving Jeff Green can Cs opportunity | Shaq still has money-making name in FL | ESPN Boston – KG on Hollinger's All-Defensive team | WEEI – Assessing the Celtics injuries this season | Patriot Ledger: Green trying to carve niche |