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Monday notes: Doc Rivers says Brandon Bass played ‘the perfect game’ while the bench, not so much

04.22.13 at 2:17 pm ET

NEW YORK — So what did the Celtics film session reveal on Sunday?

To Doc Rivers, it showed that Brandon Bass “played the perfect game” in the Game 1 loss. It showed that Jordan Crawford did a lot of positive things in his first career postseason game.

“I thought Brandon played the perfect game for us,” Rivers said. “I thought defensively, he guarded Melo [Carmelo Anthony] well. He took shots when he should have. He moved the ball because they were coming [on traps].”

And it showed that the team’s energy and effort was there.

It also showed one huge area of need – getting Kevin Garnett more involved in the right spots on the court so that the offense doesn’t go into hibernation like it did for the final 13 minutes on Saturday.

“It was good, it was good,” Rivers said. “The film never lies. It didn’t. I thought our guys were great. They saw what we could’ve done and didn’t do. I’m sure New York saw the same things. So, I expect them to have a great game [Tuesday] and I expect us to play better as well.”

After hitting his first two shots from the field, Garnett made just two of his final 10 shots and finished 4-of-12 with eight points.

“He could’ve gotten himself in better spots and that’s again on us, too,” Rivers said. “It’s never one thing, it’s both. We have to create them for him. Kevin can’t dribble or pass to himself. We have to create that for him but listen, they’re still very good defensively. They trap and get down there [on block]. Even if you get him deep, they’re still coming.”

Did film help Garnett himself?

“Yeah, actually it did,” Garnett said. “It was nice session. Obviously, we put some things in, dropped some things. We’ll go over that in practice.”

The mood of the team was good, led by its always-smiling head coach, who as Garnett was talking to Rivers, asked Rajon Rondo if he were going to take part in practice. Rondo – wearing a pair of stylish green beats – was doing what he has been doing for the last two weeks, shooting around with his team and taking in practice and offering insights as he rehabs his reconstructed right ACL.

Now, Rivers is trying to regroup his troops and remind them that there was a lot to be happy about in the first three quarters of Saturday’s loss to the Knicks.

One thing he made clear on Monday was that the energy Saturday was good, just not the execution.

“I’m always pleased with that,” Rivers said. “We played hard, and so did they. We have to play better. It’s like I told our guys, hard is great but hard and smart is more important.”

The perfect example of that was in the third quarter when Lee saved a ball with a behind-the-back pass. But he saved it under the basket the Celtics were defending and into the hands of the Knicks, who easily converted the layup.

“We made a lot of hard plays, even Courtney saves the ball inbounds, he was hustling so you give him an ‘A’ for effort and then the rest of the part is where you have to be smarter as a group. I thought we did a lot of that in the game [on Saturday].”

On Jordan Crawford and his first NBA playoff game: “Just to be solid and not turn the ball over. Just be an agressive scorer, give us good defensive minutes and I think he’s capable of doing that. I thought he was good. He stayed in his lane, let’s put it that way. He didn’t go outside of it. Usually, guys in their first [playoff] game or young guys do one or the other. They don’t do anything. I thought he did far better than that or they try to do too much. I thought he was under control emotionally.”

On Celtics substitution patters and if Rivers will include a big in the first half: “The game will dictate it. They stay small most of the game so you don’t have to do that. I just want to make sure everybody is fresh so we may do it more in the first half and let the game dictate [rotations].”

On the minus-15 posted by Lee, Crawford and Jason Terry in the fourth quarter: “If you watch the film, Courtney missed two wide-open threes, JET missed one wide-open three and we missed two layups in that same stretch. That’s where you have to be real careful with numbers. Would you take those same shots again? If I can get those exact same shots again, we could’ve been a plus-15. So, the answer is if I think it’s the right one, yeah. If I my eyes and film had told me differently then, no. But they missed wide-open shots. That group, when they’re on the floor, have to produce offensively because they’re not ever going to be a great defensive group, and they didn’t do that, and it hurt us.

“I hurt the bench more than the bench hurt themselves. I didn’t play them a lot. They weren’t productive in that one stretch, either. So, just be aggressive. Be who they are. You know you’re going to shorten your bench a little bit. Even if you don’t shorten your bench, you’re going to shorten the minutes on the bench. That’s just the way the playoffs go. Still, we’d rather play Kevin, Paul and Jeff. The question is how many minutes is too much and we’re always trying to figure that out.”

Jason Terry (0-for-5 in 20 minutes Saturday) also said after being held scoreless in a playoff game for the first time in his career, his experience will help him bounce back in Game 2.

“Most definitely,” Terry said. “That experience will help me and I will still look for my shots. I know I can knock them down.”

There was rich irony at the start of practice as Rivers was firing up soft jumpers before talking to reporters prior to practice, inside the same building he used to call home in the mid-1990s. He played for Pat Riley‘s Knicks from 1992-1994.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Carmelo Anthony, Doc Rivers
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