|03.01.10 at 4:46 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Following a day off Sunday to reflect on a stunningly bad performance in a 104-96 loss to the hapless Nets, Doc Rivers played the part of coach/philosopher/team psychologist on Monday at Celtics practice as his team prepared for Detroit on the road Tuesday night.
‘I would like it not to but this is basketball and these are teams,” Rivers said of a possible wake-up call courtesy the six-win Nets. “It happens. We’re not used to it happening here but it happens. I’m not going to overreact to it. I can tell you that. But we just need work on it and we need to see it. Sometimes you can see it on film, sometimes you can see it on the floor and sometimes you’ve got to get your butt whipped a couple of times before you realize it’s a problem. I’m hoping all of those are going to help us.’
The Celtics are 36-21, a half-game behind third-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference. But a closer check of the standings reveals that only the Cavaliers appear clearly out of reach. The Celtics have just one more loss than second seed Orlando in the East and Denver in the West. Dallas, Boston, Utah and Atlanta all have 21 losses.
[Click here to listen to Doc Rivers break down what’s been bothering him and his team.]
‘We’re a game behind Denver, three or four behind the Lakers. As bad as we ‘so called’ have played, we’re still in the thick of things, and that’s what you want at this time because we haven’t played well. In some ways, maybe we’re lucky in that way that other teams have faltered in other places as well. But we have a lot of games to get it right and we’re going to have to do that.’
But Rivers did isolate one area that needs to improve. The Celtics are just 16-11 at home. Of the 13 teams in the NBA with more losses on their home court, only No. 8 Portland in the West would be a playoff team.
‘I don’t know why. Blame the wives.” Rivers joked before offering perspective. “It is troubling. Of all the things to me, even with the rebounding and everything, is how we have performed at home. If you ask me, the one thing that has bothered me more than anything is that because I don’t care what your injuries are, whatever, you should win at home. On the road, it becomes difficult. At home, you should win those games. And we haven’t.’
So, in short, the Celtics coach has the mother of all motivational jobs ahead of him, with a talented team that is clearly underachieving right now.
“It’s a great challenge,” he said. “Obviously, you would love it to be easy but if you want to do something special, I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy. You’ve got to get your hands dirty. You have to dive into it and see what you can come out with. It’s a good challenge. It really is.”
|03.01.10 at 2:48 pm ET|
The initial fanfare over Nate Robinson’s arrival in Boston has simmered down and now the newest Celtic is simply trying to dig in and digest everything, especially the team’s defensive scheme.
“It’s getting there,” Robinson said. “I’m trying to figure out this defensive playbook that’s pretty crazy. The offense is going to come easy. For me and Marcus [Landry] everything is coming at us fast. It’s like in baseball, they put you other and say, ‘Hit a 100 miles an hour fastball.’ It’s like, How do I do that? You just got to keep playing and keep working.”
While Robinson adjusts to Tom Thibodeau’s scheme, with its emphasis on fighting over screens, help defense and constant communication, Doc Rivers had tried to help Robinson feel more comfortable offensively by incorporating a handful of plays from Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks offense.
“It’s kind of cool, because I’ve got to be out there trying to coach it,” Robinson said. “They like the offense that we showed them and we’re trying to run with it. I know when I’m in I’m going to be calling that play 99.9 percent of the time. I’m going to be real comfortable with that.”
Rivers has also utilized Robinson in a backcourt tandem with Rajon Rondo at times. That is something of a league-wide trend to have teams play two quick point guards together to take advantage of the NBA’s rules changes outlawing hand-checks on the perimeter.
It’s an intriguing lineup, but Rivers isn’t quite sold on it yet because of the size aspect, but in limited bursts a Rondo-Robinson backcourt could be a game-changer once both players get comfortable. “It’s a good combination,” Rivers said. “It’s not one I love because it makes us really small, obviously.”
Robinson himself noted that he is treading lightly. “You can’t really rush things like this.”
Like everything else with the Celtics these days, it’s just going to take time for them to get things right.
|03.01.10 at 2:05 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Paul Pierce practiced on Monday and said afterward he is ready to go for the team’s game in Detroit on Tuesday after missing the last three games with a sprained right thumb.
“I would have been back for the Cleveland game, please believe me, as much as I love to play against Cleveland, as much as I love to play against LeBron,” Pierce said. “I even went out there and shot before the Cleveland game because I wanted to be out there so bad. I don’t think I’m rushing back. I think this is perfect timing. My body feels good, my hand feels good and I’m ready to go.”
The Celtics won their first game without Pierce against New York last Tuesday before dropping home games to Cleveland and New Jersey.
|03.01.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kendrick Perkins did not practice on Monday and is not making the afternoon trip with the team to Detroit, according to the team.
Perkins, who played in the team’s loss to New Jersey on Saturday, became sick over the weekend, the latest player to battle flu-like symptoms. The Celtics play in Detroit on Tuesday before returning home for a game against Charlotte at TD Garden on Wednesday. Marquis Daniels and Paul Pierce had to miss parts of last week with flu-like symptoms.
‘If he’s feeling better he’s going to fly up [Tuesday] to the game,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I don’t see that happening but if he’s feeling a lot better, we’ll have him do that. We just have so many guys that aren’t feeling well right now that we can’t afford to even have a guy around anybody else to let it start up again. We’re taking a different measure right now. We’re keeping all unhealthy people away from each other right now, even with injuries. Just stay away.’
If Perkins can’t go, Rivers said Wallace would likely start in Perkins’ place at center.
|02.28.10 at 1:53 pm ET|
WEEI.com has learned the Celtics are one of the teams Battie would be interested in signing with if he is bought out. According to a source familiar with the situation, Battie would eye the top three or four teams in each conference, which makes sense for a veteran player who is trying to maximize the years he has left in the NBA.
According to the source, Battie, 34, considers himself to be the in twilight of his career and a serviceable big man who could rebound, play tough defense and give timely fouls. He has not, however, had any conversations with the Celtics organization.
Battie has played in just 15 games for the Nets this season. He played 5-1/2 seasons with the Celtics from 1998-99 until he was traded to Cleveland during the 2003-04 campaign. Prior to being traded to the Nets as part of the Vince Carter deal, he averaged 4.8 points and 3.6 rebounds off the bench for the Magic.
|02.27.10 at 5:34 pm ET|
He warned that if they didn’t, eventually it would catch up to them.
Well, on Saturday ‘ in a 104-96 stinker vs. the Nets ‘ it didn’t just catch up to them, it barreled them over in stunning fashion on their home court in the form of a 5-52 team beating them soundly and thoroughly.
Perhaps most troubling from the final box score were the 41 free throws the Nets attempted, compared to a measly 11 for the Celtics.
Afterward, there was no hiding for the Celtics coach.
“Like I said before, I still believe in this team,” Rivers said. “I just know for a fact we’re not playing well. But I do believe in this team. But I don’t think you change just to change. I don’t think we need it. I think we need to change our approach and the way we play.
“And tonight you could see it early, even though [at the] beginning of the game we jumped out and after that you just ‘ you know, we had that sense that ‘we’ll get back into it.’ And you know what happened? They actually did try. I thought our guys gave a great effort in the second half, but then they started making shots, and then we’d have the defensive breakdown with three seconds on the shot clock over and over again. Every time we got it down to six or four, a guy would make a 3, a bobbled ball would go to it. I talk about it a lot with our guys: ‘Those are the basketball gods punishing you; you have no right to get back in this game. I thought all those little breaks went to them, and I thought the basketball gods were saying that they deserve to go to you.’ ‘¦ If you believe in that.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|02.27.10 at 3:32 pm ET|
The C’s blew an early 10-point lead and got outscored 102-84 after that point.
While the Celtics shot better than the Nets from the field, the Nets got to the line 30 more times and hit 25 more free throws.
Even though the C’s cut the lead to within six with less than two minutes to play, Ray Allen missed a critical three-pointer. Kris Humphries connected on the next possession to push the lead back up to eight with 1:28.
Turning Point: The Celtics started to let the Nets back into the game late in the first quarter. Keyon Dooling gave the Nets a two-point lead heading into the second quarter, where the Nets went on a 17-9 run. The Celtics got down by 10 points and never fought back.
– This was only the Celtics second loss in the Atlantic Division. Prior to the game, they were 10-1 with a loss to the 76ers.
– This loss defied the Celtics statistical history this season. They entered the game 20-5 when shooting 50.0 percent or better and 24-4 when holding their opponents to less than 44.9 percent from the field. On Saturday the C’s shot 50.0 percent while the Nets shot just 44.4 percent.
– Kevin Garnett fell under the basket in the second half and winced when he got up. After taking a breather on the bench, he came back in the fourth quarter. Garnett led all players with 26 points.
– Courtney Lee suffered a left ankle sprain in the fourth quarter and did not return. He had scored 21 points in 30 minutes.
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