Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump
The Celtics finished a spirited two-hour session by running no-dribble, three-man weaves up and down the court, players sprinting from one end to the other — tagging a coach's hand — then racing back in the opposite direction while being unable to put the ball on the ground.
Asked about the session, head coach Doc Rivers noted, "It was long and it was a ton of running. That was done on purpose."
It wasn't hard to read between the lines. Rivers isn't particularly thrilled with his team's conditioning and overall game shape, so he put them through a different sort of Boston Marathon.
This season is just going to be completely different than what we're used to. It's hard to keep that in mind when you're reacting to things. I'm as guilty of that as anyone.
I look at the calendar, I see it's January, I'm watching the NFL playoffs and the BCS National Snoozefest Championship, and I'm thinking it's time to start ramping up. I'm thinking it's time to get past whatever early issues we might have and get going.
But the team hasn't even played 8 games yet. And their preseason seemed like it was 2 hours long. And Doc even says he's not sure he spent those two hours wisely.
Rivers also blames himself for not putting his team through more conditioning drills during training camp, wondering now if he put too big a focus on installing offensive and defensive sets while ignoring his team's need to get its wind back up after a five-month lockout.
"That's where we're kind of learning on the fly here," Rivers said. "I learned that just watching them play the last couple of games. I just thought, 'Wow, we're tired after three minutes, four minutes.' So that's a lesson learned."
He's got a team where half the players are new. He had to pick something to focus on. I guarantee if he chose conditioning, we'd be talking about how confused half the guys are and his quote would have been more like "That's where we're kind of learning on the fly here. I learned that just watching them play the last couple of games. I just thought, 'Wow, we're really out of sync in the first three minutes, four minutes.' So that's a lesson learned."
Maybe the answer is to use the rest of January as a training camp. Just sacrifice some execution and use the games as track meets. Sub the guys out after 4 minutes… let the bench have 4 minutes of sprinting… and then get the starters back in and let them go run like crazy for 4 minutes? You can run through plays in shoot-arounds… the conditioning has to come from somewhere.
And maybe we all have to change how we think about the NBA this year. These assessments and reassessments after 8 games are impossible. It was a month ago yesterday that training camps even opened. ONE MONTH! Very few teams can resemble their final product after this past month.
Related links: Globe: Conditioning Key
On Page 2: KG and the Church of Celtic Pride
Garnett talking about how Doc has "this much foot in (his) ass right now" is a perfect example of what sets this team, this franchise apart from so many. This is Kevin Garnett, a Hall of Famer, one of the greatest power forwards to ever play of the game, and there is total deferral to the head coach. There's no "I think I played fine" or defensiveness. Garnett is actively taking responsibility for his play and for what the team needs him to do.
Garnett makes you believe that the cliches are real. Trust me, when you do this enough, you can tell from inflection who means it and who's going through the motions. And some go through the motions with the press but believe it privately. But KG is one of the few in the league who talks the talk of the walk he walks. In a sport where so many players are steadfast in their struggle to be self-aware, to understand how much greater they can be if they let go of ego, who are always considering themselves and their image and brand first, Garnett is a rarity. He was made to do this. He was made for Boston.
He was made to be a Celtic.
This is an excellent piece. And it captures why playing for the Celtics is just different.
You just don't play well here if you don't play the "Celtic way." You can't be overly selfish, you can't put yourself before the team, and you can't thumb your nose at the history of this franchise. Because no matter who you are what your talent level, this city has seen it before. This laundry has been worn by better. So if you want to wear the same jersey as Russell and Bird and Havlicek and Cousy, you'd better understand that you're part of the machine, not bigger than it.
Only the Lakers can really say the same. And it might sound arrogant, but history is what it is. The banners in the rafters, the retired numbers, the stories that have grown into legend… who else can boast that? And it's fine if it doesn't mean as much to some people. We're all different. And being affected by the aura of the Celtics doesn't make anyone better than someone who isn't. It just makes us different. And I'm happy being on this side of the dividing line. It'd be no fun if everyone was on this side. But this is the side I belong on. It's the side you belong on. And it's the side KG belongs on.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Chris Wilcox-from the fields to the court | Pietrus hoping to return vs Mavs | Jeff Green's surgery "went great" | Rondo getting to the line | ESPN Boston: Pietrus aims for Wednesday debut | Trying to find something in reserves | Quick hits from Celtics practice | WEEI: What can Pietrus really give the Celtics | Celtics try to recapture their toughness | Herald: Pietrus adds French twist | Globe: KG slow to embrace offensive aggression | Guards need to adjust | MWDN: Celts Pietrus close to comeback | Bench no boost for Celtics