Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“We were relaxed just from knowing their record, not knowing every NBA team plays hard,” said Celtics forward Amir Johnson. “We were relaxed. We need to play a full game all the way hard.”
That shouldn’t be a problem against the Nets (9-23). despite Brooklyn having lost three of its past four and eight of 10.
“We know what they did to us last time, especially when we played them back to back,” said Isaiah Thomas.
He’s referring to Boston’s 120-95 win on Nov. 20 against Brooklyn, which was followed up two days later by the Nets delivering a 111-101 loss to Boston in a game that was never really close.
“We have to be ready,” Thomas said. “They’re a really good team. Their record may not say so. They want to get as many wins as possible, just like us.”
The players can’t be caught overlooking opponents or letting down because of the competition. It’s not the first time this has happened this season. The Celtics were soundly beaten by Brooklyn two days after pounding the Nets at home. They lost by 19 at Orlando after hammering the Washington Wizards in what was their best performance of the season.
“You have to be a pro and come back in for work and get your energy back,” swingman Evan Turner said. “Set the tone like we’ve been doing; set the tone for the next game in practice.”
The Celtics took New Year’s Eve off but return to practice Friday in Waltham, in what should be an important session to reaffirm their principles and prepare for a Brooklyn team that has been playing better of late.
This has been an ongoing issue for the Celtics this year. It’s a bit strange, given that Stevens has preached consistency of effort and never taking a possession off going way back to his Butler days. At some point, the hope is things will click with these guys and they won’t come out from the opening tip looking a bit like they’re sleepwalking just because they’re playing a bottom tier team. They aren’t good enough to phone it in.
Granted, the NBA schedule is brutal at times, and nobody’s going to be able to execute perfectly night after night; still, the loss on Wednesday can’t be laid to schedule (they have only three games this week, with two days off between them), nor should they have been unaware of the oddball nature of this game.
This game had trap written all over it. It was like one of those scenes in a horror movie where you know what’s going to happen when the ditzy friend of the protagonist opens that door at the top of the staircase–and she opens it anyway.
Page 2: Marcus Smart’s back
First, he gets held out of the first 20 minutes of the first half Wednesday night against the Lakers — punishment for missing the team shootaround due to a flat tire — and then falls hard onto his back after a tip-dunk late in the third quarter.
“There was probably some (health involved), there’s also the fact that, when you miss shootaround, everybody else is there, everybody else is going through shootaround, everybody else is learning and talking about what you’re doing, and it’s unfortunate when those types of things happen,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “But at the same time, the guys that are there are there. There was probably some of that second time thing and hopefully it’s the last time.”
I think we all winced when Marcus Smart ended up flat on his back after that tip-in. And, surprise, surprise, there were consequences from that play. I like Marcus, but he’s got to stop doing this. Those two points aren’t worth taking yourself out of the next dozen games, or whatever.
Finally: Kobe’s nuts man.
I’m enjoying how most stories Kobe tells now are kind of sweet + also totally insane. https://t.co/IrjKuUjqG8
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) December 31, 2015
“He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he’s gonna kill and eat,” Thomas said. “And you know how many bugs are on the lion’s eyes and gnats on his body? He’s so locked in on that zebra that he doesn’t get distracted by anything else. He said if you get distracted by little things, then you’re not as locked in as you think you are. He said for me to be a lion, and that’s gonna stick with me the rest of my life.” (emphasis added –ed.)
So Kobe & Isaiah Thomas had a bit of a chat on Wednesday, and Kobe’s advice was apparently to ignore bug bites. Or something.