Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Isaiah Thomas before the game:
“Even though he doesn’t act like it’s a big game, we want to win this one for him,” said Isaiah Thomas. “I’ve been in games where I played my previous team and guys are always like, ‘We’re gonna win this one for you. I know how much it means to you.’ So we know this means a lot to him. The world will be watching tonight. Hopefully he has a great game and hopefully we can get a win for him.”
Isaiah Thomas at the end of the game:
So, after the Philips Arena crowd finally showed up, and halfheartedly cheered and booed a guy who spent nine years there and took them to the playoffs eight times, Boston did Boston things (racked up, then gave up, a 20 point lead), and IT did IT things, and when it was all over, it wasn’t a bad homecoming at all for Al Horford.
Page 2: Where it was also a homecoming for Jaylen Brown
Atlanta is also Dwight Howard’s home town. And apparently old D12 has taken on a mentoring role.
Howard said the conversations he has with Brown have a very clear purpose: to steer Brown from some of the mistakes Howard has made since coming into the NBA.
“When you’re talking to a guy trying to be in the NBA and stuff like that, you just always want to be real,” Howard told CSNNE.com. “For us growing up, we didn’t see the stuff that players went through. I didn’t know what to expect. I only saw the TV, what was on TV, the cars, the houses, that stuff. Once I got in, it’s a different side. That’s the side I wanted to talk to him about, just try to … I don’t want him to make any of the mistakes I made as far as away from the game. On the court, he’s going to handle himself. But away from the game, just so he doesn’t make those little mistakes that could cost you in the end.”
Brown acknowledged how appreciative he is that Howard has taken an interest in his career, something he knows Howard doesn’t have to do.
“I’ve learned from a lot of the things he said he did wrong in the league and he told me a lot of the things that went well for him,” Brown said. “So I’ve learned a lot of good things, a lot of lessons he shared with me before I got to the NBA.”
Last night I joked that Jaylen was writing what he learned from Howard in a notebook marked ‘what not to do.’
Turns out, I wasn’t that far off.
I am not a fan of Dwight Howard, the player. Haven’t been, ever. I’ve had issues with Dwight Howard the guy too–from getting Stan van Gundy fired to not being able to crap or get off the pot as far as the Magic were concerned or the Lakers. But he does seem to have grown up a bit as a person.
Certainly his remarks here are instructive of where it all went wrong–or perhaps why it was never all right. Dwight is a seven foot tall guy who is probably the closest player to Shaq (in terms of build) that we’re going to see for a while. He also saw the ‘cars and houses’ that NBA players got.
So, I would guess, without really loving what is, after all, a game, he decided to play it for a living (after all, what else is a seven foot tall guy going to do? Sales rep at the Casual Male?) And therein lies the issue that a lot of fans have with Howard. While it may be acceptable to become an accountant because the pay is good, people invest a lot of emotion in sports (not always healthy, positive, or useful emotions, but…), and when they see people playing without really caring what happens, win or lose, it bugs them. But if being a center is your version of being an accountant, it kind of makes a sort of weird sense.
And you know what? Credit Howard for having the sense to realize that he’s made his fair share of mistakes.
Page 3: Where you don’t slap the floor on IT
Boston had been looking to use Thomas in pick-and-roll plays, but in this moment, he audibled from that plan, too. He was being defended by the long and rangy Kent Bazemore. He could have tried to get the slower Mike Dunleavy switched onto him with a screen, but Thomas had seen Bazemore slapping the floor, essentially as a show of force, and he did not like that.
“So he wanted to get a bucket on him,” Jae Crowder said. “So let him do what he do.”
Thomas whirled into the lane and lofted a difficult 19-foot, step-back jumper from the right side.
Pretty dumb move, Kent. You ain’t no first team all defense guy, and IT is way, way, way out of your league.
Page 4: Where Zeller’s disoriented
Stevens said he heard the results came back with good news, but did not reveal Zeller’s diagnosis.
“I’ve been told what they have found in tests, and it’s very — it’s positive news,” Stevens said Friday night before a road tilt with the Atlanta Hawks. “But I’ll talk more about it Sunday. He’s not going to be here tonight obviously.”
Yesterday, Danny Ainge said that Zeller had been diagnosed with an inner ear infection, and nothing Stevens said contradicts that. As you may or may not know, your sense of balance and orientation is heavily dependent on your inner ear; specifically the three semi-circular canals that align (more or less) with up/down, forward/backward, and left/right directions of travel.
An infection of the membrane of these canals (which are connected structurally to the cochlea, which transfers audio signals to the brain) is serious–as in, you could go deaf in that ear. It also really messes up your sense of balance, as one (or both) sets of canals is not sending useful information on to the brain (BTW: How the inner ear detects motion is kid of cool, if you’re into that sort of thing).
I’m not going to say this is 100% of the reason why Zeller has looked really iffy at times over the past couple months, but it certainly wouldn’t have helped him play better.
The rest of the links:
MassLive: How Isaiah Thomas hit a game-winner to send the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks | Isaiah Thomas hits game-winner, Boston Celtics top Atlanta Hawks 103-101 in Al Horford’s return | Al Horford draws mixture of boos and cheers from Atlanta Hawks crowd
Providence Journal: Celtics 103, Hawks 101: Last-second shot by Thomas wins it