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Sounds of the game… Celtics 90, Clippers 77 03.23.09 at 11:29 pm ET
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It’s the most basic lesson Celtics head coach Doc Rivers preaches, with some serious nudging from assistant Tom Thibodeau.

Think defense first and everything else will follow.

Rivers didn’t think his team was in that mindset in the first half on Monday night against the lowly Clippers, especially when the Clip Joint went on a 19-5 run early in the second quarter to wipe out a 13-point lead and take a lead against the sluggish Celts.

“We didn’t get any stops and we didn’t score the basketball,” Eddie House said. “They went on a 19-5 run I think from the start of the 2nd to 4 minutes left so that’s a recipe for disaster if you don’t get stops and don’t score. Second half we concentrated on getting stops and our offense slowed up our defense.”

Thanks to Kevin Garnett, the Celtics picked up their defensive intensity. And as our colleague Paul Flannery writes, the offense did, indeed, follow.

But with Orlando lurking in the land of Magic on Wednesday and second-place in the East on the line, Rivers knows his team, especially the second unit, can’t afford to come into a game like they did Monday night.

“Honestly, I thought in the first half they came out thinking all about offense and it was a one pass, shot unit,” Rivers said. “In the second half they thought about defense and they got stops.  And then we moved the ball and got open shots.  And it’s amazing when you play the right way together how things work out.  And then when you have the right mindset when you walk on the floor.  Read the rest of this entry »

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