WALTHAM – Down 28 points midway through the third quarter, the Celtics  nearly completed the biggest comeback in their great playoff history on Monday night.
But to coach Doc Rivers , that provided no consolation. And he made that much very clear at practice on Tuesday at the team’s practice facility, one day after dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Orlando, 95-90, at TD Banknorth Garden .
“Execution was bad, defense was bad, offense was bad,” Rivers said. “And I don’t lean on the fact that we had a chance to win the game. I agree with Van Gundy. I’d focus more on the fact that they were up 28 points. To me, that’s far more important to me than we made a fool’s gold run that got everybody excited. That does nothing for me.”
In other words, great for the fans who enjoyed the rally but terrible for the coaching staff to endure. And Rivers said on Tuesday that he and his staff reminded the players of that.
“We won’t let it,” Rivers said of a possible confidence boost from the comeback bid. “If they do, that’s on them. I told them after the game that meant nothing. You had a team that had a big lead and let their guard down a little bit and you made a run. You’ve got to do that in the first quarter and the second quarter when the game is on the line.”
Many in the building at the time or watching on TV assumed that the coaching staff made several adjustments at halftime, with the Green down, 54-36. Not so fast.
“It’s funny, I asked our guys today how many defensive adjustments did we make at halftime and the answer was zero, not one,” Rivers said. “How many offensive adjustments? Zero, not one. Yet we played better. To me, that comes from within.
“I look at last night as a loss and that we have to play better, just bottom line. We have to execute better on both ends. We have to play with more speed as a team, speed is power and we didn’t play with a lot of speed until late in the game.”
Looking at the x’s and o’s, Rivers said that the team wasn’t nearly aggressive enough in attacking Dwight Howard  in the post.
“We shot jump shots,” Rivers said. “We settled. It was just one of those games for us. Let’s hope it was us and not them because if it was them, then we’ve got a lot of changes to make.”
One change in store for Game 2 on Wednesday night is getting to the basket, even if it means going through No. 12 in blue.
“Just getting up into him. He’s a focal point. We knew that coming into it. It’s one guy with the size, and that’s Dwight Howard,” Rivers said. “We have to make some changes there to help our guys be more aggressive to the basket.”
Then Rivers paused before adding, “we know what we want to do.”