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Doc Rivers: ‘We still haven’t sustained a 48-minute game’

12.19.12 at 11:39 pm ET
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At this point, Doc Rivers will take any victory, any way he can get them.

But even Wednesday night, what looked like a 20-point laugher late in the third quarter against a 5-21 team on the parquet turned into nail-biting time in a matter of six minutes.

The Celtics led 80-60 with just over three minutes left in the third. Then Rivers subbed his starters and turned to his bench. The unit that was very productive and active in the first half, fell apart, allowing the Cavs to start a 20-2 run that got them back in the game.

‘€œHonestly, our bench came in and didn’€™t give us a lift,” Rivers said. “And they were fantastic in the first half. We still haven’€™t sustained a 48 minute game; we had that one stretch. We have to get better. We had a 20-point lead, you sub in, and I think guys think when you have that lead it’€™s scoring time now. And it’€™s really defensive time; you’€™ve got to continue to get stops. Then you can score. And I thought we short-cutted that part of it.’€

The Celtics finished shooting 59.7 percent on the night and scored 103 points, thanks in large part to their captain Paul Pierce, who had 40. Did Pierce just get tired of losing?

‘€œWell I don’€™t know. Whatever it was, it was great,” Rivers said. “It was efficient, though. A lot of open shots. A lot of ball movement down the stretch. He caught fire and created his own. For the most part, I just thought the ball movement was really good for our guys. We shoot 60 percent, basically; a lot of good things are happening. And then we hold a team to 40 or 41 percent, a lot of good things happen. I thought Jason Collins play with one point, two rebounds ‘€“ I thought he had a main impact on the game for us. Especially for Kevin (Kevin Garnett). I thought Kevin enjoyed playing with him.’€

A three-game losing streak ended Wednesday because the Celtics found some resiliency against a 5-21 team. Not pretty but Rivers will take it.

“I think [Pierce] and Kevin and (Rajon Rondo), they all took it to heart,” Rivers said. “They don’€™t like the way we’€™re playing, they believe we’€™re better than what we’€™re playing, but we haven’€™t done it. And at some point, you’€™ve got to stop talking about it. And Paul did that tonight.’€

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