The news rolls in from all directions. The television stays on from the time you enter your hotel room until you leave, remaining on for some of us even as we sleep — or try to. Smartphones and Twitter feeds are checked regularly. The television keeps talking.

“Hello” and “Good morning” have been replaced by “What have you heard?”

Things seemed rather misaligned as the Celtics walked into Levien Gymnasium at Columbia University shortly before noon yesterday. Back home, Boston was in lockdown. Both there and here, information from the previous night’s astonishing events was processed. A carjacking, a shootout, a door-to-door search.

On the way to Columbia, we got word that Sean Collier, the MIT police officer executed without a chance to defend himself, was a Salem State graduate. Celtics assistant trainer Brian Dolan had spent time there, so we approached him, hoping for his sake that he didn’t know the young man. Hoping that the news could be delivered with care if he did.

Dolan thought a moment, then shook his head. He didn’t know Sean Collier.

“You know,” he said, “by the time this is all over, everybody’s going to be touched by this in some close way.”

The Celtics have been touched by this. There is the very real danger for their families in the area. There is the disconcerting knowledge that the streets they’ve walked have been turned into a crime scene.

And there is the burden of having to put all this aside to whatever degree possible and believe that this basketball game against the Knicks today is the most important thing in the world.

Avery Bradley is trying.

“I haven’t watched anything about it since I’ve been here,” he said as he tugged at the laces on his sneakers. “I’m keeping away from it on purpose. I watch it too much. It gets you messed up sometimes watching too much of it.”

There is never a day when a basketball game is the most important thing in the real world, but to dwell on this fact too much would be to induce a planetary paralysis. Doc Rivers understands.

“Listen, this is not normal,” he said. “I mean, we know that. You know, I get woke up this morning . . . It’s kind of comical in some ways and not in others, but Pags (part-owner Steve Pagliuca) calls me at 6-6:15 and wanted to make sure I was safe. And I said, ‘Pags, we’re in New York.’ You would think your owner knew where you were at.”

Rivers laughed.

“But it woke me up,” he went on, losing the smile as he spoke. “And then you turn the TV on and then you don’t go back to sleep. You can’t turn it back off. It’s really sad stuff. It’s crazy, it’s sad and you just want it to come to an end.”

The coach then confronted the real-life intrusion on the games and the need to honor one’s employment.

“You’ve got to put things in compartments,” Rivers said. “You always do. This is what everyone’s going through, not just basketball players. It’s everybody. It’s everybody at work, whatever you do. But then you have to do your job, too. You know, honestly for us, getting on the floor is good medicine. It gets you focused on your job.”