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 don’t have a big body like (Kendrick) Perkins or a guy like Big Baby (Glen Davis),” Paul Pierce [stats] said. “But it doesn’t have to come in a size package. It has to be, ‘How bad do you want it?’ I mean, the most physical guys in boxing aren’t the biggest guys.”
“We’re just not there yet as a team,” Rivers said after yesterday’s practice. “I think we’ve got a tough group of guys; we just haven’t all bought in yet. It’ll come. I’m not that concerned by it. I just know we need it.
“We’ve got to be a hit-first team, and we’ll get there.”
“You don’t (teach toughness),” he said. “Either you are or you’re not. Your team can play soft and be a tough team though. I think we’re a pretty tough, physical team, but we’ve had days where we were and days where we were not. But I don’t think you can teach it.
“You can get a guy to play with tougher guys to act tough, but I don’t think you can teach toughness.”
I contemplated the inclusion of this topic in the Morning Dump because all questions about toughness inevitably go down the Kendrick Perkins road. There were never any questions about toughness when he was around. It was the one infectious element (aside from illegal screens) that he brought to the court every night.
The Celtics have enough tough players. They just need to start playing tough. And that’s Doc’s message.
On Page 2, stats prove the Celtics should be running more.
Boston is second-last in the league in pace, averaging only 90.7 possessions per game. But according to Synergy Sports Technology, they’re second in the league with 1.32 points scored per transition possession.
Read that again. The Celtics have the second-most potent transition attack in the league and are playing at exactly the wrong pace to maximize that competitive advantage.
That’s especially concerning given the sludgy offense they’ve trotted out the last few years. The Celtics finished 17th in offensive efficiency last season, 13th in 2009-10, and 5th in 2008-09. It’s a trend moving in the wrong direction.
Boston has four players in the top-100 of points-per-possession in transition; Ray Allen (7th), Paul Pierce (30th), Brandon Bass (38th) and Rajon Rondo (78th).
Of course, the lack of transition attempts is connected to the Celtics mediocre rebounding rate. You could also link that to toughness and desire to box-out and rebound.
As Tommy would say, run, baby, run.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Pierce rounding into form | Jeff Green interested in Celtics return | CSNNE – Former teammates have high praise for Bass | Herald – Mavs keep absorbing opponents best shots | WEEI – Celtics search for an identity |