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.
"Delonte will be [playing] for sure, from everything I hear," Rivers said.
The news isn't nearly as rosy or optimistic on the return of Shaquille O'Neal, who is still nursing a strained right calf injury suffered on April 3 against Detroit.
When asked when he would like to see O'Neal back in the Celtics lineup, Rivers responded, "Shaquille, I'd like to see him yesterday. We'll just have to wait and see."
Rivers' position on O'Neal is one that's cautiously optimistic.
He has been down this road too many times this season, thinking that he would have the 7-foot-1 center available only to learn at the last minute that he would remain sidelined.
Because the Knicks' lack of depth in the middle, there's a pretty good chance that O'Neal wouldn't play much even if he were fully healthy.
We knew Delonte would be playing. The dude could have a gunshot wound and he'd still lace them up.
Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers continue to waver on Shaq's status. Is he more hurt than they are letting on? Are they being coy to mess with the Knicks? I have no clue.
With Jermaine O'Neal playing more effectively of late and the Knicks lacking a true center, the need for Shaq has diminished. But I'd love to see Jared Jeffries or Amare Stoudemire try to guard him even for 10 minutes a game.
Here's the schedule for Round 1:
Game 1 – Sun., April 17, New York at Boston, 7 p.m (TNT)
Game 2 – Tues., April 19, New York at Boston, 7 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri., April 22, Boston at New York, TBD (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun., April 24, Boston at New York, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5* – Tues., April 26, New York at Boston, TBD
Game 6* – Fri., April 29, Boston at New York, TBD
Game 7* – Sun., May 1, New York at Boston, TBD
Two days off between Games 2 & 3 and Games 5 & 6. Heaven.
Related links: ESPN Boston – West says no excuses
On Page 2, Sasha and Avery impress.
Rookie Avery Bradley poured in a game-high 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting over 27 minutes off the bench, while Sasha Pavlovic chipped in 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting over 35 minutes off the pine in what amounted to a mere playoff appetizer.
Pavlovic is likely fighting for a spot on the 12-man active roster in the playoffs, but might have shown enough at both ends to warrant a final spot. He's still gotta edge Wafer, but, ultimately, as Doc Rivers said pregame, the Celtics hope to never have to lean on the end of their bench in the postseason.
Avery Bradly had a couple of nice dunks last night. And Sasha surprised me with his smooth stroke and feisty attitude. For those who missed it, Bill Walker gave Sasha a smack-to-the-nuts during a jumper (Good to see Billy learned something from KG).
All this talk of competition for the 12th active roster spot is a waste. As Doc explains in this Jess Camerato article, unlike the old days where a roster was set for a series, he can change the active roster from game-to-game.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Celtics scrub up for playoffs | Knicks working on plan of attack | CSNNE – Davis happy to start Campaign for Champagne | Celtics bench bests rested Knicks | Herald – Celtics/Knicks ready to show who's best | Celtics plan is practice | Back-up plan works for Jeff Green | WEEI – Glen Davis: Cs and Knicks will brawl |