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Doc: ‘They played great. We played awful’

05.09.09 at 2:34 pm ET

Doc Rivers didn’t mince words Saturday afternoon when asked to dissect his team’s performance in Game 3:

“I was in a awful mood when I turned (on the film), and whatever is past awful, I was in that (mood) afterward,” Rivers said. “They played great. We played awful. Our defense was awful. I thought we were soft. They were the aggressors, we were the retaliators. They picked us all game. Other than that, it was a wonderful night.”

Rivers showed the tape to his coaches and then decided that he would let Armond Hill and Tom Thibodeau edit the bad stuff down to a more manageable size to show the players. “Probably the best move we made all night,” Rivers joked.

Of primary concern is getting Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Eddie House better spacing and looks. “I introduced our bigs to Ray and Eddie and Paul,” Rivers said. “We’ve got to get those guys open. That’s their job.”

Of course for the Celtics, their defense is what fuels their offense and after the Magic shot almost 60 percent, there was precious little room to turn stops and turnovers into quick, easy baskets on the other end of the floor.

“It’s tough to get (Rajon) Rondo in the open court when the other team is scoring every time down the floor,” Rivers said. “We’ve got to get stops first. Our offense is secondary to our defense.”

There was also concern about the shooting struggles of Allen and Pierce. Allen is shooting just 30 percent during the series and while Pierce scored 27 points he did most of his damage at the free throw line.

“(Allen) had some good ones last night,” Rivers said. “He had some great ones in Game 1. He made them in Game 2. With Ray, I just tell him to keep shooting. He’s a great shooter, maybe the best in the league. They’ll fall eventually.”

As for Pierce, he was upset with himself after missing some easy shots that he normally makes. “My first five shots were makeable shots,” Pierce said. “Sometimes what I see what is different than what you guys see.” Pierce allowed himself a little laugh at the last line, but it’s clear that his confidence hasn’t been shaken at all.

Again, it all comes back to defense for the Celtics. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu had huge games both inside and out, and when both of those guys have it going the Magic are very tough to stop.

“We’ve got to be better,” Rivers said. “We’re a better team (then what we’ve shown). Only one team has shown up for all three games. At some point both teams will play and it will be a hell of a game.”

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