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 have seen the Celtics face a Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City team … and lose.
We have seen them not have to contend with Luis Scola of Houston … and lose.
There are a number examples of Boston losing to teams missing a key player.
That's why the idea of facing a New York team that won't have Billups, doesn't exactly provide the C's with any added confidence.
"For us, we have to be even more focused (if Billups doesn't play)," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "We haven't really done a good job when star players sit. Throughout the course of the season, we saw that opportunity many times and we lost those games."
Pierce has a few different theories as to why the Celtics seem to have problems in such games.
"I don't know if we take them for granted or taking them too lightly because they're missing a player, thinking that team wouldn't play as hard … even if Chauncey plays or doesn't, Toney Douglas is more than capable."
Billups didn't practice yesterday and was described by Mike D'Antoni as "very questionable" for Game 2.
Newsflash to the entire Celtics roster – Toney Douglas can play (ESPN New York):
During the regular season, Douglas averaged 10.2 points and 2.7 assists in 23.8 minutes off the bench, but as a starter in nine games (eight due to Billups' DNPs), he improved his numbers to 13.9 points and 5.7 assists. Most impressively, he improved his scoring every month from December to April, finishing the last month of the season averaging 14.4 points. Not to mention, he led the league in most 3-pointers made after the All-Star break (68). He also ended with two stronger months distributing the ball, averaging 4.7 assists, which was a concern of D'Antoni's earlier in the year.
The job of containing Douglas ultimately falls on Rajon Rondo – a guy whose erractic defense has driven us nuts all year long. Do you have faith in RR to stick with Douglas?
I'm also prepared to scream this phrase tonight, "How can you let Anthony Carter get to the hoop?" The 35-year old back-up point guard has a herky-jerky offensive game that makes me think I can guard him, yet somehow always gets a few head-shaking buckets against the Cs.
On Page 2, LeBron James does have a little bit of class.
It was in Los Angeles before the All-Star Game, and Allen was a classically tailored suit among the latest fads and fashions from the Eastern Conference.
“There are hierarchies in All-Star games obviously when you get there and see the guys that are playing,” Allen said. “There was a situation that happened in the locker room. Doc asked, ‘Who would take the last shot if it came down to it?’
“Half the room said the guy who was open. And LeBron was like, ‘Ray Allen.’ You hear that coming from a guy who’s doing pretty well for himself . . . It didn’t really make a difference one way or the other to me, because if I was in at the end I’m going to take the last shot if I needed to. But just to be respected like that among your peers is important.
“These guys are younger than me, and to be respected like that says something.”
You deserve it, Ray.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Jermaine O'Neal a force | Pierce doing the little things | ESPN Boston – Short series would help Cs in long haul | Doc defends KG on Douglas trip | Practice: Film session for Cs | CSNNE – Pierce hopes to step up on both ends | Shaq out for Game 2 | Herald – Passionate Cs fans give team lift | Green push Delonte to be selfish | Patriot Ledger – Bench needs to improve | ESPN NY – Melo needs to step up | Knicks can check Cs in paint |