|05.05.09 at 9:28 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Paul Pierce, as captain of the defending NBA champions, knows full well that he is the best spokesman for the team after head coach Doc Rivers.
And he didn’t disappoint on Tuesday as the media converged on the Celtics practice facility in search of answers to how and why the wheels fell off on Monday night, at least in the second and third quarters.
“It’s just all about our energy and effort,” Pierce said, repeating what Rivers has been saying since Game 1 went into the books for Orlando. “We went into halftime and we really didn’t change anything. We didn’t alter our gameplan, we just everything we were supposed to do a little bit harder. That’s what got us back in the game.”
And like Rivers, Pierce found it hollow to take any moral victories in nearly erasing the 28-point deficit but not finishing the deal.
“That’s not something we want to practice or say we can hang our hat on,” Pierce said. “The last three times we’ve played them, that’s the way it’s been. When they got the big lead during the regular season here at home, when they got the lead down in Orlando, it’s been three losses. It doesn’t matter what we did in our run last year, a loss is a loss. It’s going to be a completely different ballgame. We can’t go out and dig ourselves a big hole like we did.”
Other random thoughts from Pierce.
On LeBron James winning the NBA MVP award on Monday: “I think it was well-deserved. He led his team to the best record in the NBA while at the same time putting up spectacular numbers.”
On finishing seventh in the voting:
“What do I get? Do I get something? Twenty years from now, they’re not going to say I finished seventh.”
On bouncing back in Game 2:
“Because we know how to bounce back from them. We’ve lost games before. We lost Game 1 last series. But we don’t want to practice losing Game 1. This team doesn’t really get down on its lows and get too high on its highs. That’s the good thing about us and we know how to bounce back.”
On not backing down from Dwight Howard:
“We know he’s in the middle and one of the best shot-blockers but that doesn’t mean anything. That’s no excuse for us not to be aggressive, try to get to the hole, play inside-outside basketball, regardless. When you’re shooting no free throws at the half, that’s just a lack of aggression. I feel like if we’re more aggressive, regardless if they have Howard on the inside, if he’s collapsing (on defense) we can create open shots. We need to do that a little bit more. If we don’t get to the free throw line in 24 minutes, that’s not being aggressive at all.”