Things are sunny in Celticland... not just the weather either. The Celtics are having a great training camp. The players are healthy and the chemistry is great. The point guards are running and the veterans are keeping up with them. The team is actually practicing defense and yes, things are very sunny! Here is a look at what is going on around the Celtics Nation today...
Steve Bulpett tells us that the Celtics are working on defense in practice. This is very, very good news because we won't win a championship without being a tough defensive team. I am still disgusted with Doc's statement last season that he was working on offense in practice and that the players would get the defense because while they were working on offense half the team had to play defense. Someone must have stuck a bee in Doc's ear over that because now he has a totally different take on defense and is working hard on defense in practice. This quote from Pierce says it best:
“That’s something we got to do every day. Everybody understands that in order to win in this league, you’ve got to be one of the better defensive teams.
I am glad Doc finally thinks this as well.
In Mark Murphy's notebook Pierce indicates that he still wants to play on the National team and feels he can help them in the Olympics. I hope he gets the chance because it is something he really wants. Murphy also reports more complaints about the new ball. So far the Celtics haven't complained, but that may change once the games start and the ball gets slick and our turnovers go up due to the slippery ball. The only benefit is that every team will be facing the same problems. I am wondering if and when the league will admit they made a mistake and go back to the old leather balls.
In Bulpett's Notebook we learn that Delonte went through his first practice with flying colors. He should resume full practice today and that is good news. Also good news is that Tony and Ryan are separating themselves as going to the next level of play and also that Al is playing the best of his career right now.
Scott Souza has a great piece on Perk and Al going to the next level this season. We saw a hint of the potential that these two have playing together before they were injured last season, but I believe that they will take a huge leap in their play this season and we will see this on a regular basis. Both are determined and working hard to get to the next level and I believe they will get there.
"We got to," said Perkins last week. "I play well off of Al. He plays well off of me. That’s how it goes. We’ve got to stay healthy and come with it every night. Al’s got three years in the league," he added. "I am going on my fourth year. I don’t think there are any more excuses."
It is no surprise that Blount was moody and pretty much shut out the younger players. I love the fact that Perk and Ratliff are pushing each other in practice as that will make both of them better. We haven't had 2 quality physical centers in a long, long time. Maybe not since Parish and Walton roamed the parquet. Have I mentioned lately that I love Perk?
From the Globe Shira tells us that the chemistry on this team is second to none. I believe that the fact that most of these players have been together for most of the summer and the fact that they have both on and off court chemistry is going to pay off big time this season.
Peter May has an uncharacteristly positive piece on Al and his vindication from the criticism over his failure to pop back from his ankle sprain. It seems that Danny never did give up on Al and now that the surgery proved that he had a real problem and fixed it, Al is ready to prove everyone else was wrong. I truly believe he will.
Shira's Notebook in the Globe shows us how the trade for Ratliff is paying off a lot of dividends. At first we saw it as salary cap relief from Raef's contract. Now we see that he is going to be a force in the center and will give us a tough defensive presence in the paint. He is also paying big dividends by mentoring our frontcourt of the future and that, as the commercials say, is priceless.
In the Sportspagemagazine, we get a very positive report out of training camp. Every player, veteran and rookie alike, are excited about this season. I would have to say that the majority of fans are excited about the season as well.
CelticsStuff Live is having their first Bloggers Night tonight. The Celtics have more quality blogs than any other team and tonight the bloggers get a chance to sound off on this great live show. Be sure to tune in and listen as Jeff from CelticsBlog, TJ from Celtics Pride, tenaciousT from Celtics17, Red from Red's Army, Snoopy from The Celtics Beagle, Ryan McNeil from HoopsAddict, and maybe even our own Loyalist. Listen to the live show on the website or join us in the Chatroom that has been affectionatly dubbed "The Pit." It is sure to be a lot of fun! See you there.
Still seems like Doc is placing more of an emphasis on offense and not quite as much on defense. It could be that he's imploring Red's strategy of 60% offense and 40% defense (which I don't mind, as long as we are winning and as long as this strategy can win us a title).
But certainly, our defense needs to get much better than it was last year.