In spite of another loss last night Celtics fans have got to have some hope for the future. Big Al is proving that he is for real. He played Duncan fairly evenly last night other than one blunder in the end. West is showing leadership on the court and is hitting his shots again. Rondo is so incredibly exciting to watch. Gomes is playing very well at the 3. Things are starting to come together for this team. Now if they could just take it one step further and get past the miscues and learn how to win. You can find reports on last night's game in the Herald, the Globe, Worcester Telegram and Metro West Daily. The theme is always the same. The Celtics get down by 20+ points, play hard and don't give up, cut the lead to 2, come up short in the end.
Mark Murphy has a piece in the Herald that discusses Al's game defensively last night. In the past, the one knock against Al has been his defense. Last night, he played solid defense on Duncan and won some praise from the coach for doing so. It could give Al a boost of confidence going forward as well:
“It tells me that I really can play D,” Jefferson said of the message that came with those two blocks. “If I can get a blocked shot against Tim Duncan, then I feel that I can get one against anybody.”
The Herald Notebook reports on the injuries that are healing. Pierce is able to shed the boot and will have xrays today. Wally and Scal hope to practice today and possibly play tomorrow. Also reported is that Doc is glad he won't have to cheer against the Patriots in the Super Bowl as he is a big Bears fan. Rondo came under fire in a time out for walking the ball up the court and not getting into the offense quick enough. Last night I watched the Spurs pass the ball up court time after time and by doing so took less than 4 seconds off the shot clock to get into their offense. I know that we turn the ball over a lot on passes but if we could just learn to pass the ball up court instead of dribbling it up, we would be a much better team. Also mentioned is the fact that Perk is still playing in pain. It may be wise to just sit him and let it heal. Duncan had plantar fasciitis and they sat him and now he is back playing very effectively. Continuing to play on it may cause permanent damage. Sit down Big Guy, we need you healthy.
Both the Globe and the Worcester Telegram report on old friends of the Celtics. The Globe has a piece on Bowen and his iron man streak of consecutive games played. The Worcester Telegram reports on Eric Williams and how happy he is to be on a winning team with a chance at the championship.
The Green Room takes a look at a few of the players and gives some thoughts on the team. He discusses Green, Rondo, Al, Gomes, and Telfair and admits that Celtics are fun to watch again, knowing that our young players are getting experience for the future. And he discusses the debate over Oden or Durant and hopefully the Celtics will be in position to pick one or the other.
The Globe Blog reports that Delonte is becoming the vocal leader on the court. We all know how Delonte loves to talk. Put a microphone in front of him and no one knows what is going to come out but on the court, he didn't assert himself until recently.
Celtics.com has an article that voices what we have all been seeing in games. This team just doesn't quit. They play with heart and just keep pushing. They gained some praise from the opposing coach as well:
"Their energy and their youth and aggressiveness I thought was a real credit to what they're trying to do and the circumstances they've been in with all the injuries and losses," said Popovich. "My hat goes off to them. I thought that was a great show of the character they have to hang in that game."
This team is hungry and are going to fight their way into every game. It is just a matter of time until they figure out how to win those games instead of just being in them.
Full Court Press gives reasons for just playing the kids. They give the season's goals this way:
What the Celtics need to do this season is play the young players who are healthy and develop them as much as they can. They also need to make some decisions on which of these players are keepers for the future, and which ones they might want to use in a trade for better fitting pieces going forward.
They then list the players they want to see more of on the court for the rest of the season. Gerald Green (We need him really get the minutes to develop his game and get him ready for the role that he seems headed for…the scoring sidekick to Paul Pierce and possible future All Star in his own right.), Rajon Rondo (He can score. Not shoot, score. His game is electric and something always seems to be happening on the court when he’s out there. Give him the minutes, Doc. Let him learn to run the team at an NBA level.), Leon Powe (When Powe is on the floor, the Celtics have a presence in the paint. He throws his body around. He grabs rebounds and comes down with his elbows out. He can take on much bigger players and score. Let’s see as much of him as we can.), Allen Ray (It’s worth seeing what his ceiling is.), and Al Jefferson (Like Green, we need to take advantage of the time to really develop Jefferson for his role going forward. He too could be a huge piece of the puzzle for a rebuilt Celtics team.) I agree with this assessment. It seems as though Doc is giving everyone a chance except Powe and I just don't understand it. The kid does great things when on the floor, he gives us defense, rebounding and a post presence, all of which we need, and yet he doesn't get into the game.
Delonte.com is liking what they see from Delonte these days. He was the game's high scorer and is playing with heart and is becoming a vocal leader. What is there not to like? And speaking of Delonte, JB over on CelticsStuffLive has a good piece on how the light seemed to come on in Delonte last night as he scored 14 of his 27 points in the 4th quarter with Rondo running the team. I agree with JB and hope Delonte is a part of the Celtics for a long time.
The Day has a good article on Donny Marshall. Interesting to read that he may be in line to take over when Tommy retires. Last night I was thinking how much I love Tommy. He was so excited when the kids started coming back in the 4th. He loves this team so much and I just love hearing that enthusiasm. I don't know as anyone will ever be able to replace Tommy.