For starters, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett need to get it going
|01.14.12 at 9:19 am ET|
The “Big 3” of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have been the backbone of the Celtics title runs in the last four seasons, winning it all in 2008, coming within a Game 7 of another in 2010 and getting to the second round of the playoffs in ’09 and last spring.
All three admitted Friday night after losing to the younger, more energetic Bulls, if they don’t help get the team off to better starts in games, they’re going nowhere.
“It’s up to the starters, and myself, to play better basketball at the start of games,” Pierce said. ‘I think we started to play better defense, and move the ball a lot better, but the bottom line is we can’t dig ourselves these holes in the first quarter. It seems like it’s getting repetitive every game, the starters need to do a better job with getting better starts. The last couple of games we’ve gotten off to poor starts and half to scratch and claw our way back and exert so much energy that by the time we catch up with them our guys are tired and can’t get over the hump.
‘I have to play better for us to win ball games and I realize that. Right now we’re going through a little lull, and we’ve just got to get through it.’
Pierce, Allen and Garnett combined to shoot 6-for-18 in the first half Friday, as the Celtics fell behind by 19 points at halftime.
“It’s very concerning,” Allen said. “Look at the stats for tonight, in the second, third and fourth, we picked up our scoring. It’s the five starters, we have to have better starts.”
“Slow start, they came out firing on all cylinders and created a hole for ourselves early,” Garnett said. “For any team, you can’t really do that. Second half was obviously a better effort. Somehow, someway we’ve got to figure out starting games with a lot more energy. You’re probably getting tired of hearing that and it’s repetitive but it’s something we have to act on and do. This ain’t perfect and we’re going to continue to work.
Garnett started the game by missing his first six shots, including 0-of-5 in the first half.
“Frustration starts with the man in the mirror,” Garnett said. “I definitely have to do better, I’m going to do better, watch tons of film and just continue to better myself and that’s all I can do. I’ll continue to encourage teammates and continue to be the glue, or one of the pieces of the glue and just stay supportive. You don’t win anything in the first month, I do know that.”
Pierce didn’t want to blame his sore right heel and missing the first three games of the season but it’s evident that he’s far from being in optimum playing shape.
“I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent,” Pierce said. “I didn’t come back 100 percent. I’m getting back in basketball shape, obviously. The heel isn’t all the way where I’d like it to be. At some point in the season it will be so it’s nothing I’m worried about right now. Obviously, I know I have to play better basketball for us, bottom line.
“It is a different type of season when you’re playing almost every other day. You just have to get through it. Every team has the same schedule. As you see around the league, there’s a lot of injuries going around. Hopefully, if I can get through this tough stretch, I’ll be fine.”
We don’t believe in moral victories. You either win or you lose in here. From every game, whether you win or lose, you can take something positive from it.”
Rajon Rondo still believes in the “Big 3” and that it will eventually come together.
“When we get it, we’ll be tough to deal with,” Rondo said.
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