Sorry the links are late today; I went to a Christmas party with an open bar and now I feel like I've been hit by Kermit Washington. Anyways, enjoy... I'm badly in need of a little more "strategic rest."
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe - "It was a shocking 57-42 mess at the half, and you couldn’t blame it all on KG’s absence. 'No, no, no, no, no,' Rivers insisted. 'We did that all to ourselves. All I told them at the half was that the defense was awful, the effort was awful. There was no defensive energy. It was just like last year [when Garnett was out]. We had the ability to score. We just couldn’t stop them.' The Pacers were knocking down shots with regularity, many of them open jumpers created in what the NBA likes to refer to as 'early offense' opportunities. The Celtics were lazy. They weren’t getting back on defense, even when they scored. It was that simple. 'It was a walk-it-up game for us, and they were running it down our throats,' Rivers pointed out."
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - 'It’s just like last year,' Rivers said. 'It’s no different in some ways. When Kevin went out last year, we had the ability to score. We just couldn’t stop people from scoring. And I actually turned to (assistant coach Tom Thibodeau) in the first half and said, ‘Here we go,’ when they started scoring. He’s just such a verbal leader, and honestly, him and (Kendrick Perkins) have such a connection defensively where they cover up for each other and everyone else. And when you take him off the floor you disrupt that.' To be fair, the Celtics would have a difficult time, too, overcoming the loss of Pierce, Allen, Perkins or Rajon Rondo . But they looked particularly sloppy last night, shooting just 38 percent from the floor against a team missing its best player, Danny Granger. 'A lot changes,' Pierce said of a world without Garnett. 'You’re talking about a guy who we play our offense through and our leader on defense. I thought it took a second for us to adjust. What we said at halftime, we said we weren’t talking on defense and usually Kevin leads us in that category as far as talking and being in the spots, having everybody in their spots.'"
Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog - "Now all indications are that Garnett was just pulled from last night's game for "strategic rest." All indications are that the issue is a thigh bruise and not directly related to his knee. Everything sounds on the up and up. I'm 99.9% sure that is all there is to the story. However, there's that thin cloud of doubt that creeps in and will always creep in from now on. And the Celtics know it. There's a reason why Danny Ainge addressed the CSN crew last night instead of just Doc. They know they need to be very careful in how they handle situations like this from now on because they know we didn't appreciate them going "Belichickian" on us last year."
Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub - "Kevin: Not OK! Not OK!! Listen, I get the pro athlete’s code. You come to work, you do your best, you don’t complain about injuries unless they are so bad that you’re actively hurting the team by playing. There’s a machismo to it. We saw this in the tunnel in Utah last season after KG first suffered his injury. He wanted to play, and he was ready to do so despite the pain. But it was just too much. The time for machismo is over. KG is proven his toughness to everyone, dozens of times over. If you’re hurting, tell the freaking team."
Red's Army - "Doc called this one in the pregame. He knew the team was going to come out like it did. And as a coach, you can only do so much. What are you going to do... dig into your bag and find your best Knute Rockne speech for a late December game against the Pacers?"