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.
Let’s just say Irving’s excited for a two-game road trip that will take the Celtics to Milwaukee and Miami.
“Every game is a test for us at this point,” Irving said. “But going on the road is when it becomes very difficult to win, especially in other guys’ homes. Understand how comfortable they play and see the pace they play at home – see how specific teams play. See how Milwaukee plays, the way Miami plays as well. They really rely on their home crowd. We just have to go in there, dictate the pace, understand we have to have a hit first mentality. I love road games. I love playing at home more, but I love road games so much because it’s test of character. You understand when teams go on runs, or the calls are uneven, you’re being tested, guys getting into foul trouble early — you never know what can happen in a road game. It’s great for building the identity of a team.”
Celtics fans and the broader NBA nation are still buzzing about the (nickname under construction) Jaylen and Jayson show from Tuesday night, but the optimism will soon be replaced by whatever tonight and Saturday night bring in Milwaukee and Miami. The Celtics are 1-1 on the road thus far and get to take the courts of two Eastern Conference playoff teams from last season. Can Brown and Tatum find the same levels of success on the road? Can either hit a big shot to stymie a run from the home team? Kyrie lives for those moments where adversity hits on the road. Will his young teammates?
We’re still early enough in the season where our opinions on players and teams are extremely malleable and impressionable if we aren’t careful. We need to see more of Tobias Harris before we proclaim him a borderline all-star and Most Improved Player candidate. The Suns have now won two straight with Earl Watson removed, but can we cool it on labeling interim coach Jay Triano a miracle worker? Likewise, let’s both wait to see Tatum and Brown show consistency before labeling one the presumptive Rookie of the Year and the other an all-star, and yet not freak out if they regress statistically on this road trip.
One thing that can be agreed upon is that more big spots like a nationally televised game in Milwaukee, against Giannis are the ways in which young players grow. I’m looking forward to see how Tatum and Brown handle them, starting tonight.
On page 2, Shane Larkin is a part of this
The situation here has changed radically since Larkin signed July 31. Isaiah Thomas still was in town, and the newly signed Gordon Hayward had two healthy legs. Marcus Smart was setting weight-loss records, and Terry Rozier was destroying people during his summer workouts. Opportunities didn’t seem open for a point guard joining the league for a second time.
But Brad Stevens somehow knew.
“When we signed Shane this summer, we thought Shane was going to be a really important part of our team,” the Celtics coach said. “When you have a guy who can play with other point guards, it gives you some versatility there. You need a guy who can change the tempo of a game — if things aren’t going your way, if you need someone to pick up fullcourt, all that other stuff. He’s able to do that, and it’s something he can really build off Friday.”
“I didn’t want to be labeled as a loser, a guy who can’t help win. I didn’t want to be in that situation, so I went to a historically good team in Europe, knew I was going to play a lot of minutes, and got my mentality back, which was attack, be aggressive, play the game no matter who you’re on the court with. . . . Confidence is huge in this league, and you can’t be out there not with the mindset of I’m going to have an impact. . . . Now I’m playing the game, trying to make an impact regardless. If I went 0-for-10 but we’re winning and I had an impact defensively, then I’m fine.”
When the news hit that the Celtics signed Shane Larkin this summer, I shrugged and assumed he’d be off the team by the end of the pre-season. Teams bring in guys from Europe all the time to compete in an attempt to carve out a role as the 14th or 15th guy on a roster. The Cs roster, however, was teeming with guards in late July.
Fast forward to the second week of the season and here’s Larkin– still on the team and looking like he belongs in meaningful early season minutes.
When the Marcuses return soon I’m not sure where Larkin’s minutes will come from (Morris is a frontcourt player, of course, but his presence will have a ripple effect down the roster) but I both feel good for the guy and feel comfort in knowing that the team as a guard far down the roster that can be trusted to play meaningful minutes.
The rest of the links:
Mass Live — Markelle Fultz out three games