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C’s can’t be Mickey Mouse on this trip

12.23.09 at 1:45 am ET
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Doc Rivers figured his team would be distracted on Tuesday for their game against the nine-win Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics and their families were planning to fly to Orlando on Wednesday morning for a trip to Orlando, two days in advance of their Christmas Day game against the Magic.

Then add to that the fact Kevin Garnett was a late scratch, and the Celtics coach figured the start of the game would be a tough go. He was right. His team basically slept-walked through the first half, falling down 15 points on their home court.

“Basically all I told them at halftime was that our defense was awful and our effort was awful, and our offense was fine,” Rivers said. “We were missing good shots for the most part.  But we couldn’t get any early baskets because they scored every time down.  And so it was a walk-up-the-floor game for us and they were running it down our throats.  

“So the holidays are a tough time to play, obviously, because of the distractions,” Rivers continued. “[Wednesday] we’re bringing everyone’s family: wives and kids and so I actually told them that before the game. I said, ‘I know how it works and I know you’ve been home all day and your wives and your kids have been talking about going to see Mickey Mouse and all that. And we have a game tonight. And unfortunately it was true in the first half. But give them credit: they all came out and they played terrific in the second half.”

But a 24-minute, half-hearted effort won’t cut it against the likes of Orlando and Phoenix on this upcoming trip.

“We weren’t defending that’s the thing,” Paul Pierce said of the Celtics’ 57-42 deficit at the break against Indiana. “We looked up we’re a team we don’t worry about the offensive end, we looked up we knew we shot a low percentage, we knew we shot good shots but at the end you look up and they had 57 points. And that’s what Doc really stressed.

“We’re not a team that gives up 57 points in the half, especially with a team that has been struggling lately. We wanted to knuckle down and come out more intense in the second half. And I told Rajon, we just have to be a little more solid on defense. So I thought we got in position where we helped and once we became solid and picked up our energy, things turned around for us.”

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