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.
For example, the 1988 Lakers, on fumes after their eight-year Showtime run, won their conference semifinal, conference final, and the NBA Finals all in seven games. They were tired, aging, and their chemistry had begun to wear thin. The Celtics appear to be in similar condition. You don’t hear about “Ubuntu’’ as much anymore.
The players are more demonstrative towards each other. Rondo is publicly rebelling against Doc Rivers and the play calling. Ray Allen wants the ball more. Paul Pierce is frustrated with the lack of precision in the offense. Garnett broods because he realizes he is not the player he was four years ago.
Together, however, the Celtics are still capable of greatness. Winning three in a row against what might be the most talented team in the NBA is a daunting task, but the Celtics will not end this run on their knees. They are too proud.
“If we can get this one game down in Miami, we’ll see what happens,’’ said Garnett. “We never lack confidence, and when our backs are against the wall is when we show great resilience. We’ll see what we’re made of.’’
I was hit with a lighnting bolt of optimism last night. The source… ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary "Four Nights in October" about the improbable Red Sox comeback in 2004.
Who is this team's Kevin Millar? The guy keeping it loose and spouting the "Why not us?" message in all corners of the clubhouse. I would say Glen Davis, if he wasn't a puddle. Garnett? Paul? Doc?
KG is right on the money. Get this one tonight in Miami and then you are right back in Boston.
On Page 2, the key to victory.
The Heat, a star-studded team that is nevertheless as hollow as an Easter chocolate bunny, were most vulnerable when Garnett went against his nature and turned selfish with the ball. One game from elimination with Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series set for tonight at American Airlines [AMR] Arena, the Celtics must somehow convince Garnett that he can’t remain the Mother Teresa of basketball.
“We have to get him down there more,” said coach Doc Rivers, who spent much of Monday night imploring Garnett to attack.
Garnett only took a jumper-heavy 10 shots in just more than 41 minutes of play, and the low point total wasn’t necessarily because he was cold. After taking 20 shots in each of the previous two games, he turned into the world’s biggest point guard — a big man with the inclinations of Ralph Sampson.
“He was looking to be a passer more than an aggressive scorer, and that was that,” said Rivers, sounding as mystified as everyone else.
Getting KG more shots in the post is the obvious solution to the Celtics offensive struggles. But what about Ray Allen? Aside from his 25 points in Game 1 (and the huge corner 3 ball late in Game 4), Ray has been quiet. He needs more shots. He's at his best when he's trailing Rajon Rondo on the break. Run, Rajon, run.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Davis at a loss for explanation | Haslem takes first steps back | Wade, James have much respect | Herald – Doc Rivers is too smart to stay | Delonte toughing it out | Miami plans to keep Heat on | ESPN Boston – PTI on Celtics | West's time has come | A Ray of hope? | Heat say Celtics trio their inspiration |