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.
Allen returning to TD Garden was supposed to be the story line — if the Celtics had held up their end of the bargain and flourished with their retooled roster. Instead they are a mess, with a befuddled Doc Rivers unsure in what direction to coach.
One night, the bench disappears, and the next, the starters fail to make an appearance. Against the Hawks, the bench handed a 19-point bulge to the starters, who took merely six minutes to blow it.
After threatening to trade everyone except trainer Ed Lacerte and PR guy Jeff Twiss last Sunday, then watching 20-year-old Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving cement his All-Star status with a 40-point game Tuesday, then looking on as Paul Pierce and Terry committed deflating turnovers against the Knicks, Rivers was left trying to explain the loss in Atlanta.
The issue of Allen coming back to Boston couldn’t be more of an afterthought. Rivers looks exhausted. He looks weathered, and we’re only in January.
As soon as the schedule was released for the 2012-2013 season, I’m willing to bet the majority of Celtics fans scanned it as fast as they could to see when Ray Allen was making his return to Boston. Ray had bolted to their hated Eastern Conference rival and the C’s reacted quickly to re-load what was widely thought to be an even deeper and better team than the one that came within a quarter of defeating Miami. As expected, the Heat have remained atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics however have failed to hold up their end of the bargain, and have failed several times in several different and brutal ways.
Today was supposed to be a clash of the top two teams in the east, with the best case scenario of both teams being close in the standings only to have the Boston fans cheer wildly like the good old days, helping the team defeat their old teammate and their current nemesis. Instead it’s become just another brick in the wall. More wood for the fire. More ammo for those pleading for Ainge to “blow it up.” Ray’s return has become a secondary story to this disappointing season thus far. This isn’t like 2010 and it especially isn’t like last year and even Doc is tired of hearing about that.
So don’t talk to Rivers about a second-half salvation when not even his elite players are dependable.
“I keep hearing that. I hear it every time I talk to a coach — you guys always do that,” said Rivers. “Not this group. The groups in the past, yeah, we had to do that. We had to not play Shaq (O’Neal) many minutes, or we had to rest Rasheed (Wallace), Kevin (Garnett), Ray (Allen) and Paul. But we have nine new guys here. We’ve never done this. They may be thinking that, but if they do it’s an error.
“They (all) say the same thing. I would love one of them to tell me something different. That would be refreshing. One of the guys I talk to the most, who is in college, the first thing he said was you shouldn’t have to coach hard, but I am, and I do. I have to do different things — I clearly don’t know what they are.”
Boston Herald - Searching for answers
Doc is hearing it from all sides and is tired of it. We’re all tired of it but nobody can be more frustrated than Doc who has tried every trick in the coaching book to get his players to win games. What better way than the first Sunday ABC game of the season coupled with the backdrop of Ray’s return to end this skid and right the ship? It would be a huge start and infuse worlds of confidence in this team, and the fans confidence for this team. Time is running out on this season so there’s no better game for the Celtics to show everyone that they indeed have one last run left.
ESPN Boston – Ray Allen’s retun is least of Boston Celtics’ worries as Miami Heat come to town | CSNNE – C’s look for win vs. Heat despite sideshow atmosphere
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – The reaction for Ray? | Frustrated Bass ‘not satisfied’ with his play | Globe – Celtics Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox bond with their cardiac surgeon, Lars Svensson (Sunday Notes) | Herald – No animosity for Allen | CSNNE – Where do the Celtics go from here? | Sherrod on Allen’s return and potential trades (video) | WEEI – Is one NBA scout’s scathing take on Celtics accurate?