The Morning Walkthrough: Paul Pierce, more efficient basketball player and more efficient person

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn't mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - "'I agree with a lot of what [Doc Rivers] said {about playing with instincts],” Pierce said. “Just go out there and continue to play with my instincts. When I do that I’m a better player.' That’s the new Pierce. Rivers can’t recall the player he first met. 'Oh no, I don’t even know who that is,' Rivers said. 'The one here is amazing, an amazing player. He’s older, he’s more mature, he’s solid - just a solid player. His percentages, everything is better. He’s just a more efficient basketball player. And he’s a more efficient person. I just think you grow up. Early on, I think, he was trying to establish himself, and now he’s just trying to establish his legacy. That’s different. I thought he actually bought in going into the second year. In the middle of that second year it clicked. The problem was that he didn’t have a lot of help around him, and that made it a difficult sell. I remember him even saying, ‘This is good.’ But we needed to take the next step because his frustration level was very high,' Rivers continued. 'So when Kevin and Ray (Allen) came in, it made how he had changed really stand forward.'"

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - "But six games into [Tony] Allen’s return from ankle surgery, Rivers rarely has felt better about the oft-injured guard’s focus. 'It’s really been every game minus the Chicago game,' Rivers said. 'He’s been terrific. He’s getting into the flow of the offense and taking what they give him, making simple plays, and I think this is his best stretch of simple defense - not the gamble defense - since I’ve had him. (He has) better focus now, accepts his role. He realizes he’s not going to be a 30-point-a-night scorer like every other young guy believes. He just has to stay in that spot. It happened to (Kendrick Perkins) when he was younger. You have a 25-point game and you think, You know what? I am an offensive player, even if those 25 points came off a great pick and roll or another pass.'"

Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe - "Tony Allen’s 24 1/2-minute stint against Minnesota was his longest since last season. He had 15 points and no turnovers in his most impressive performance since suffering a thumb injury Feb. 11. Allen missed 22 games because of the thumb injury, then underwent offseason ankle surgery. Allen said he is planning to play against Indiana tonight. 'I didn’t think it was going to take this long,' Allen said of his recovery. 'But I’ll fight through it, I ain’t looking back. [My confidence] was definitely affected last year. I would say, if you look before that injury, I was getting money, I was doing the things that I was supposed to be doing. I think I had 11 [points] against San Antonio, we lost that game, but I did some good things. The next day, in practice, I hurt my thumb and I was out 6-8 weeks. Just look at my track sheet, when I’m out there playing big minutes, I produce. When I’m injured it’s kind of hard for Doc to say I’m going to put this guy out there and he just missed 20-some games, his conditioning is not there, the injury is still lingering. I just have to show Doc I’m healthy and I’m a force out there.'"

A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE - "For a guy who has had a number of run-ins with the NBA and its rules, Rasheed Wallace is sure getting a lot of love from the league lately. After the NBA decided to impose no additional fines or suspension following his outburst ( and ejection) from Friday's loss to Philadelphia, has learned that one of Wallace's technical fouls has been rescinded. The one in question came on Nov. 29 at Miami."

Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub - "Nate Robinson made a tremendous hustle play, sprinting the length of the court and pinning Rondo’s lay-in attempt on the glass. Nate turned toward the crowd, celebrating. A nice moment for Nate, only the ball was still in play right behind him. With Nate distracted, Marquis Daniels picked the ball up and laid it in. And that, to me, summed up Nate Robinson’s NBA career: Tons of talent, little understanding of what it means to be a successful NBA player on a successful NBA team. And so I reacted with a combination of anger and nausea when ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reported earlier today that Robinson, who has requested a trade and has veto power over any deal, would accept a trade to Boston. Of course, this doesn’t mean Boston would accept Nate Robinson. But they have the sort of cheap, expiring contracts (such as Tony Allen’s $2.5M expiring deal or the combination of J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker) that could work on the other side of a deal for Robinson. Were that anger and out-of-hand rejection really warranted? I decided to check the numbers and see. What I found surprised me a bit."

Jessica Camerato, WEEI - "Pierce grew up in California as a Lakers fan. No one, however, in purple and gold could top what he learned at home. '[It was] definitely mom. She was always there when I needed something. Not as an athlete but period. I get it from her… I definitely [carry part of her on the court]. Of course she [knows it]. I just got my never-quit attitude from her. My mom didn’t grow up in the best situations, raising three boys by herself, maintaining three jobs just to put food on the table. She didn’t look at adversity as something that would bring her down. She always tried to find a way.'"

Shawn McGrath, North Station Sports - "Ultimately, what matters here is that there’s a line between calling a guy for foul-worthy behavior and going looking for an excuse. [Referee Bill] Kennedy basically as much as said to ‘Sheed, 'go ahead, make my day,' and Wallace did. The prophecy is fulfilled, amor fati, and Rasheed’s Kenobi has now completed NBA Vader’s circle (or vice versa). In an ideal world, Kennedy would have looked the other way on Sheed’s second technical, as his actions (trash talking in the huddle) didn’t have an impact on the game. But in the same ideal world, Sheed wouldn’t have said anything worth Kennedy’s attention to begin with. As fans, we need to accept that Rasheed Wallace and the NBA officials are inextricably linked in an antagonistic relationship with no benefit to either party, and that’s not changing. We can only hope that the next time it costs the Celtics, it’s not enough to sway the momentum of a game, as it was Friday night."

Me, Celtics Town - "But Tony [Allen] is playing well. He's inspiring confidence and, for the first time in a long time, I don't mind it when he's in the game. Am I completely sold on him, yet? No, not at all. He's like the girlfriend who always cheats on you, then goes on her best behavior for a couple weeks. You really like the new her, but you can't trust that she's going to stay faithful to you... you just can't. Really, no matter how long she stays loyal, you'll never completely trust her. You'll always fear a relapse. So that's where I am with Tony Allen right now. I love his recent play and I can't believe the quality of his recent minutes, but I will always, always fear a relapse. My brain is telling me that Tony Allen is still Tony Allen, still likely to make a mistake at the worst possible time. But my heart? It's saying Tony might have finally turned the corner."

Have a link I might want to look at? Send it my way by email ( or Twitter.


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