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.
"I've got to figure it out. And then I've got to get them to stay with it," Rivers said. "We play for seven minutes to start the game and turn it on, then say, 'This is the Celtics!' Then, bam, it's gone. To me, it's gone because a couple of things didn't happen our way, we get frustrated and we can't play right. That's a concern."
Frustration bubbled over in the Celtics' locker room Sunday. After Thursday's head-shaking loss in Chicago, Boston players expressed concern about straightening out their problems. But with a win the next night against the Wizards, Boston renewed its pledge to come out with more focus against the Heat, hell-bent on securing the No. 2 seed and home-court advantage through the second round of the postseason.
[...] "You expect a little more urgency, especially in the last week of the season," captain Paul Pierce admitted. "But we understand what it is. The hustle game is killing us. We're not rebounding the ball. It's very disturbing when I look up and we're down 15 rebounds to a team [that's] really not known for [its] rebounding.
"I think we've just got to get our heads right. Everybody's got to look at themselves individually and ask themselves what can they do to make this team better."
The line about being frustrated and not playing right… that's the line that gets me. And its a running theme. Doc called his guys a "front-running team" that hung its heads after Chicago made a run the other night.
If that's true… if that's the way this team is going to play… then we can forget the Finals. If this truly is what we're going to see out of the Celtics… a team that hangs its head when there is adversity… then we can just turn to hockey or baseball (did we mention we've got a baseball blog?) and be done with the heartache that is being caused by this team.
I'd like to think that's not how it will be. I remember similar things being said about the team last year and… though Doc insists last year was planned and this year wasn't… would like to think we'll see sustained efforts in the playoffs.
Doc could just be setting us all up, you know. We didn't hear about this "plan" they had last year until this season. While it was happening the team was saying and doing all the same things its doing now. The circumstances are absolutely different… and the integration of players is making things really, really hard. But a lot of the other stuff is sounding the same.
We'll see, I guess. This next week is going to make all our heads spin.
Related links: Herald: Heat's on reeling Celtics
On Page 2: Will Doc throw in the towel and just take the 3rd seed?
To sit, or not to sit?
That is the question Rivers acknowledges he doesn't have a concrete answer for right this minute.
"That's something we do have to think about," Rivers said. "Not sure what's better for us, just sitting it out or playing the next two."
Rajon Rondo, the team's leader in minutes played, is indifferent about being held out of action.
"That's coach's decision," Rondo said. "You know how I feel. I'm pretty young. It don't matter to me."
What does matter is the fact that the Celtics are not just struggling; but through those struggles, they're searching for answers that don't seem to be forthcoming as they would like them to be.
And as you can imagine, it's starting to wear on the players.
"The frustration is high right now on our team," Rivers said
I say sit 'em. Sit them all down. This is who I'd start tonight:
- PG: Arroyo
- SG: West
- SF: Green
- PF: Krstic
- C: J O'Neal
Sasha, Von Wafer, Avery Bradley, Troy Murphy off the bench. Rest everyone else. Yes, Big Baby too. He looks like total ass out there. And I'm not even just talking about the jumpers…. which are a big problem. But he's slower. And he's flailing around. He looks like the season has taken its toll on him and he's out of gas. Whatever it is, he needs to sit.
I know I took some heat yesterday for saying I don't care if the C's face New York. I still don't. I know they've got good players.. but they're not a good team yet. Are they more dangerous? Sure. But can they be handled in the first round? Absolutely.
Rest the starters. Rest Glen Davis. And when you play NY on Wednesday… rest them then too. 15 minutes max for all of them. Then get ready for the playoffs.
The C's need healthy, rested legs. Get your work in in practice. Screw the games now. Figure your stuff out or else we'll become the 87-88 Celtics.
The rest of the links
CSNNE: Rondo, C's cool down after hot start | WEEI: Plenty of questions, few answers for Celtics | ESPN Boston: Time to "pick" it up | Rapid reaction | Herald: Heat kick sand in faces of once proud Celtics | In Ray Allen, struggles clear | Miami Happy Perkins' gone | Globe: Unable to take Heat | Game full of sour notes | Heat shined in rebounding battle