|03.11.10 at 9:53 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics’ embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies the night before (listen to the interview here).
Asked if his team quit, Rivers said it didn’t start out that way, but that’s how it ended up. “I thought they gave in as the game went on. Yeah, there’s no doubt, you can call it ‘quit’ or whatever,” Rivers said. “But I don’t think they mailed it in when they showed up. If you look at the first eight minutes of that game, I thought we competed. We missed every shot, every wide-open shot. … When things went bad, I didn’t think we had a lot of resolve to fight it last night, and that was obvious, But when you watch the beginning of the game, the ball was moving. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot after wide-open shot. … What bothered me about it was as we missed shots we hung our heads more and more.” Added Rivers: “On the [defensive] end is where the breakdowns came. As the game got worse, our fight got less, and that bothers me.”
Rivers said he was most disturbed by the fact that at halftime the Grizzlies had a much higher shooting percentage than the Celtics and, on top of that, managed to get more offensive rebounds in fewer opportunities. “That’s an effort category for us,” Rivers said. “And clearly, it didn’t show.”
Rivers said his team earned the boos that rained down upon them from the TD Garden crowd. “Yeah, that was pretty good, and we deserved it,” he said. “Listen, I’m not a fan of booing anything. … But that was frustrating for the fans as well. I always think you support your team good or bad, but last night was so bad ‘ and it’s rare where I’d say this ‘ I had no problem with it at all.”
Asked if there was an explanation for the team’s home woes, Rivers said: “No, there isn’t. That’s a tough one to explain. We have played at times ‘ we’ve been more comfortable on the road, which is unusual. … We just haven’t played well, bottom line.”
Asked if he planned a display of anger, such as breaking a clipboard, to inspire his team, Rivers said he would only do so if needed, downplaying its impact. “Listen, that is so overrated it’s ridiculous,” he said.
Rivers said the team is focused on getting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett healthy and back into the flow of things before the playoffs roll around. “We have 19 games to get them right. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Our best players have to be great for us to be a great team. And we have to figure out over these next  games whatever the best way is to get them there. If that means sitting them down for two weeks, we’ll do that. If that means playing them even though they may not play well, and maybe struggle through it, but get them more rhythm, then we’re going to do that. … That’s the key to our season. We have to get them right.”
|03.11.10 at 1:16 am ET|
Coming into Wednesday’s game, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins wasn’t about to let his suffer the same fate as the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.
After his team blew a 13-point lead in the final six minutes, only to lose to Boston, 86-83, Wizards coach Flip Saunders said his team relieved itself collectively down its leg.
Hollins knew with his young, energetic team well rested in Boston while the Celtics were battling Milwaukee half a continent away 24 hours earlier, his team would have a decided advantage and likely jump out to a quick, big lead.
Hollins was prophetic. The Grizzlies raced out to a 27-12 lead after one and 55-33 at halftime.
And when the Celtics rallied to get within 12 in the third quarter he reminded his team what was at stake during a succession of timeouts.
‘I was telling them to keep being aggressive,” Hollins said. “I watched the Washington Wizards come in here the other noght and literally beat the Celtics up for three and half quarters and then quit playing and the Celtics came back and won the game.
“I told them whatever happens, whatever run, we’ll call timeout and try to stem the run but when we go back out there we’re gonna be aggressive. We kept throwing the ball up the court and attacking the. We had two or three quick 1-2 passes then a layup after they scored which kind of took the start to them and also took the crowd out of the game.’
While a respectable 34-31, the Grizzlies are still on the outside looking in, trying to catch Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s a big win, and we’re happy with the win, but we know we caught the Celtics on a down night,” Hollins said. “They played back to back, had to travel home, had a tough game [Tuesday] night in Milwaukee. They’re still, in my mind, one of the top three teams in the East and they’re going to show that as they go forward into the playoffs. But we’re just happy to get a win and we’re excited to have 34 wins and be three games over .500.
‘We talked about making some noise, we beat a lot of good teams during the course of this season and this the first big road win though against one of the top teams in the league and we caught a break so that helped us but we’ll take it. That’s the way the NBA is and that just takes us further and closer to our goal.’
|03.10.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
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|03.10.10 at 9:57 pm ET|
The Grizzlies entered the game shooting 33.5 percent from 3-point range (26th in the league). On Wednesday they hit 56.3 percent.
The Celtics let the Grizzlies have their shots and, as a result, fell into a double-deficit in the first quarter. It doesn’t help that the Celtics put up one of their worst offensive performances of the season, either. They recorded season lows in first quarter points (12) and first half points (33).
Turning Point: The Celtics troubles started almost immediately. The Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run in the first half of the first quarter to go up 11-4. The C’s were down 15 by the end of the quarter.
Player of the Game: Rudy Gay scored 15 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 28 (10-18 FG, 3-5 3PG, 5-6 FT). He also added 8 rebounds.
– The Celtics were outrebounded 48-29. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol grabbed 10 apiece.
– Gasol also dished five assists, more than everyone on the Celtics except for Rajon Rondo (8).
– Kendrick Perkins (4 points) scored less than 10 points for the sixth time in seven games.
– Michael Finley made his home debut and scored 10 points.
|03.10.10 at 9:28 pm ET|
The best thing the Celtics can say about the third quarter is they scored 30 points after scoring just 33 the previous 24 minutes. The problem is they’re not stopping Memphis, who maintained their comfortable lead at 82-63 heading into the fourth.
Earlier in the quarter, the Celtics went on a 9-0 run to cut the Memphis lead from 21 to 12 but the Celtics could get no closer.
The Celtics are still getting hammered on the glass (40-23) while shooting only marginally better in the third quarter, raising their percentage to 42 for the game.
Rondo had seven points in the quarter and leads the Green with 16. A pair of former UConn Huskies are making their presence known. Rudy Gay has a game-high 17 after three and Marcus Williams hit a key 3-pointer and leads the Grizzlies bench with 10.
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