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Celtics cram for Magic

05.04.09 at 12:40 pm ET

WALTHAM – The Celtics have all the excuses working for them tonight but their coach wants to make sure they don’t need them.

After a seven-game series against Chicago that left them tired and exhausted, they had exactly one day of rest (Sunday) before opening their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Orlando Magic tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.

The satisfaction of surviving the Bulls had not yet dissipated on Saturday night when the players got in their vehicles and found the scouting report book on the Magic waiting for them, courtesy head coach Doc Rivers and the coaching staff.

“It’s more,” Rivers said. “Obviously, it’s about 50 pages bigger than the regular season book. That’s because we coaches have nothing to do so we overload them. You don’t expect them to read all of that that. Hell, I wouldn’t as a player but you expect them to read their guys, what they do and their assignments there so you hope that goes through and we can get it done in time.”

Rivers said he wanted to make the most of the 48 hours between Game 7 and Game 1 of the Magic series.

“I just think it’s important, number one, right after a game, when they get into their car, to get off the Chicago Bulls thought and try to get their mind at least trying to think about the other team. I don’t know if that happened or not,” Rivers said.

How effective was it? Rivers liked what he saw from his team during Monday morning shootaround.

“They were pretty good today,” Rivers said. “I was amazed. We were calling out sets and they were already walking into them so I would say our guys did get into the books.”

As for the mental health day on Sunday, the coach believes it was enough to get his team ready.

“It was good, good enough,” Rivers said. “That’s all we needed. A good mental day for the players, at least, gave them some time off and that’s all we needed.”

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