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.
“He’s working through it,” Rivers said. “Listen, Paul’s playing hard. Like I told you, I’m using the minutes for him to try to get him in better shape and better rhythm. Is it the best situation for all of us? No, but we’ve just got to endure through this until he gets right. You can see it. Even early at the game, he had some explosive moves, couldn’t finish, and I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for him. But he’s doing everything right. And he’s doing everything that he possibly can do to get right.”
With praise and support coming from both sides of the court, what does Pierce have to say about this himself?
“I'm not going to say I'm 100 percent,” he said. “I didn't come back 100 percent. I'm getting back in basketball shape, obviously. The heel isn't all the way where I'd like it to be. At some point in the season it will be. It's nothing that I'm worried about right now. I know I have to play better basketball for us, bottom line."
Paul Pierce has not been good.
Ok, so now that I've gotten the obvious out of the way. Let me expand on that.
Paul Pierce will get better. I'm starting to get the sense that this might be such a weird season that the Celtics typical M.O. might end up reversing itself. Instead of typically coming out of the gates strong and then fading, the Celtics might just come out of the gates weak and gain strength as the season goes on as these guys play themselves into game shape.
Now, of course, the question is to what extent can that happen? Will they get incrementally better and sneak into the playoffs as a low seed? Or will they get tremendously better and manage to grab home court in the first round?
And then there's the other question of how long Rajon Rondo can play this human version of bumper pool in the interim. Right now the offense is primarily Rajon diving into the lane and trying to draw a foul or 5 picks for Ray Allen to spring him for an open look. Those are the only two things that are working.
Doc's quote says a lot, and not just about Pierce. The Celtics have to use these games to get into better shape. This is essentially a pre-season that counts… which really sucks to watch.
Related links: ESPN Boston: Taking on water | WEEI: For starters, Pierce, Allen & Garnett need to get it going
On Page 2: KG knows he's got to do better too
"We’ll get it, we’ll get it," he said. "We’re a group of guys that are very prideful, not ego driven — hard workers. We come in here, we lace them up, we get in here for however long we're out there. Like I said, man, you don’t win anything in the first month. We learn a lot about ourselves while we’re here too.
"We're all in here, we understand what it is. We’re all trying to figure this thing out together. These are the dog days, man. These are the days when you're really going to see who’s with you [or] who’s fair-weather."
I really want to believe Kevin Garnett when he says these things. I'm just torn between my rational "I can only go by what I see" side and my irrational "YOU TELL 'EM KG… WE'RE NOT DEAD YET!!!"
The thing to keep telling ourselves is the normal rules don't apply here. The normal formula of A+B=C doesn't work in the lockout-shortened maelstrom of an NBA schedule. The thing is, this is all we know. We only know how to react under the other rules.
Kevin Garnett is saying the right things. I can only hope it eventually results in his body being able to do the right things.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Celtics roster shuffle yields familiar result | Rose overcomes pain, leads Bulls to victory | ESPN Boston: Pietrus: new face, old tricks | C's seek quick fix for slow starts | Rapid reaction | WEEI: Second half rally leaves Celtics empty | Brandon Bass and Jermaine O'Neal will split starting role | Is this the beginning of the season, or the beginning of the end? | Globe: Green aren't going yet | C's falter again | Herald: Too little, too late for Celtcs | Shoes on the other foot | MWDN: Bull dozed at the Garden