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Welcome to the Garden

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  December 21, 2008 06:14 PM

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***Picture substitute teacher stumbling into class all huffy and slightly confused, with the brown folder things bursting with paper's he hasn't really looked at***

Sorry I'm late guys. Snow's got the Dzen Master trapped again. So I'm your substitute. I'd say welcome to the Garden, but the first quarter's almost over and the Celtics are up 35-21.

It's barely been five minutes and the C's are already up 13-3. Here are a few things.

* If you didn't know, the Knicks are pretty chatty.

Remember Quentin Richard's went all Mike Tyson after the last Knicks-Celtics tip

(In case you don't, he said, "I'll just be real curious to see what a lot of those guys would say if we weren't in a basketball arena where there ain't no referees and the NBA officials are going to stop certain things," he said. "I mean, it wouldn't be the same story. They are the world champions and rah-rah-rah. But I mean, the tough talk, I don't buy.")

Well he was a little more coy before the game today, showing respect to the Celtics, if only because they're the champs. He said he wanted to focus on the game, rather than the talk, but that he didn't really regret anything he said (his trash talk transcript goes all the way back to last year).

Doc Rivers, always good for sarcasm, almost got baited into talking about Kendrick Perkins and technical fouls. Instead, he said, "We're playing the Knicks tonight. So I don't want to talk abut techs before the game. I can tell you that."

*Bench production

THe starters are all kinds of nasty, from Perk's early 8 points (he just had a career high 25), Ray Allen dropping transition 3s and Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce combining for 7 assists.

It's nice. But the bench has to protect it. Rivers called the second unit "inconsistent," and after watching them blow the 10-point lead built by the starters in Friday's game against Chicago, you'd say he's being gentle. He's worked with them after practice trying to tighten the group up. So it's worth paying attention to now that they'll inherit another double-digit lead.

*Stride right?

Rivers swears it's not just coach speak when he says the Celtics, who haven't lost since Nov. 14, haven't hit their stride yet. "When you're winning games people think when you say that stuff, you're just kind of throwing stuff out there," he said. But he's serious. He said they've got a long list of things to improve on, from the bench, to consistency (he was serious), to turnovers. "We've got a long way to go," he said. "If we're this good at the end of the year, I don't know if we're good enough yet."

OK, coach.

Anyway, I'll be back with more later.



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