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 - "There are many quality guards in the Eastern Conference, and now that sentimental favorite Shaquille O’Neal is with Cleveland, the competition for an All-Star spot at center is thick as well. But in the biased view of their teammates and coaches, Rajon Rondo [stats] and Kendrick Perkins [stats] are as worthy of a trip to Arlington, Texas, for the Feb. 14 game as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce [stats] and Ray Allen. 'Our starting five should go,' coach Doc Rivers said after yesterday’s practice. Funny how that sentiment has spread. 'He means so much to this club,' Pierce said of Rondo. 'But our starting five should be in the All-Star Game.'"
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston - "'Mentally, you have to be confident in that ligament, that thumb,' said Davis. 'What I have to do right now is get strong, mentally, using it. To shoot, or when somebody hits you and you have to stay focused, and make sure you don't hurt it again. When I get over that, that's when I'll probably be 100 percent.' Davis pegged his birthday -- Jan. 1 -- as a potential return date (the Celtics host the Raptors on Jan. 2), but admitted he's taking everything slow at his teammates' urging. 'It's a good sign when Baby got the cast off,' said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. 'For him to come out here and do some stretches with us, he hasn't been able to do that in a while; a couple dummy offensive plays. Slowly, but surely. It's still a long season. We want these guys to be healthy at the right time, and completely healthy.'"
Scott Souza, Courtside View - "Marquis Daniels also watched practice and lent a few thoughts on some things he saw from the sideline. He is expected to miss the next five to seven weeks after surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb. Daniels said he would have kept trying to play through the injury if not for Rivers pulling him off the floor. 'As a basketball player with a competitive nature you want to be out there with these guys competing,' he said. 'But everyone is keeping me up and involved. I was trying to keep going, but (Rivers) pulled me out of practice, telling me he was noticing it a lot more. It was something we decided that needed to be done. … I wasn’t going to (pull myself out). I just want to play and be on the floor. We have a great team right now, so you don’t want to take yourself out of it if you don’t have to. Unfortunately, I had to get this taken care of.'"
Steve Weinman, D-League Digest - "'All of this brings us back to Hudson. His job is to show that he can run a team because that’s what the Celtics may need him to be able to do. Forget for a moment that there is a jump from playing at UT-Martin to playing in the D-League and an even larger jump from UT-Martin to the Association, so how much of his scoring ability will transfer to the next level of basketball remains in question. It doesn’t matter. Not right now, anyway. Hudson, whom at least one scouting report pegged early in his senior year as possessing mediocre ball-handling skills and speed, needs to show that he can help create opportunities for those around him without turning the ball over with abundance. He needs to make smart decisions with the ball in his hands. He needs to use his length (listed at 6-3 and possessing a sizable wingspan) to cause defenses problems offensively and to make his man tentative with the ball at the other end. Given the lack of playing time he is receiving with the Celtics, any chance to get some run is significant for Lester Hudson. But this one is especially important because it will give Hudson further opportunity to focus on turning himself into an NBA-level point guard.'"
Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston - "The Celtics enjoyed a couple of days of downtime after polishing off a perfect three-game road trip Monday in Memphis and coach Doc Rivers noted there was some expected rust to shake Thursday. 'Practice was OK, it was typical of taking a couple of days off," said Rivers. 'We were flat early, but I thought we got it going... We had one more drill left, but I blew the whistle and said, 'That's it.' We were going so hard at the end, let's save something for [Friday].' Said captain Paul Pierce: 'It's good to get back out there. It was nice to get some rest after playing so many road games, get the body adjusted back to the time. We came in today, freshened up -- it's not as crisp as we want to be, but as practice went on it got better.'"
Greg Payne, CelticsBlog - "As that season went on, the notion of a championship became more and more realistic and we quickly adjusted to the fact that that squad was really, really good. It was almost as if the 22 years prior to that had never happened. But when we locked ourselves into that mindset that told us a championship was possible, we began to expect certain things, and when they happened, we took them as they came, rather than appreciating them for all they were worth. Even simple things like a Pierce step back jump shot, or an Allen three-pointer in transition were taken for granted because they happened so routinely. But the uniqueness of these players makes every play they make that much more memorable, and we need to recognize that."
Henry Abbott, TrueHoop - "Every which way people slice and dice crunch time numbers -- field goal percentage, plus/minus, you name it -- Bryant is not the NBA's best in crunch time. A glance at last year's crunch time numbers on 82games.com makes clear Bryant shoots more than anyone else in the NBA in crunch time, but is he more skilled at making those shots? That's what we're trying to judge, right? In crunch time field goal percentage, last season Bryant finished 92nd in the League, right behind Michael Beasley. Others ahead of him include Kevin Garnett, both Gasols, Zach Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Terry, Jameer Nelson, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Eric Gordon, Brandon Roy, Andre Iguodala, Jason Kidd, Ben Gordon, and Chris Bosh."
Tom Halzack, CelticsBlog - "Thought [the Celtics] were going gently into their assisted living facilities, eh? Tut tut, my skeptical friends. The ‘assisted living’ comes courtesy of one Rajon Rondo, point guard extraordinaire. Rondo plays one gear higher than the rest of his starting unit. 11 game win streak says they are rounding into shape after starting strong, stumbling, then slowly righting the ship. The only major surprise was/is the lack of 48 minute intensity, and rebounding woes. They still look like one of the best teams in the NBA to challenge the Lakers. Back with a vengeance? They are back. Vengeance comes later."
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