Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that his team came away from their Game 2 more encouraged than discouraged, despite losing 115-111 in overtime. Still, there are numerous areas to improve including: defending the 3-point arc, getting Kevin Garnett more involved and maintaing their offensive rhythm that got away from them in the third quarter.
Of particular importance for Rivers is the notion that Paul Pierce needs to get to the free throw. He had his first free throws of the series late in the first half and he went to the line six times, a far cry from the 24 attempts by LeBron James.
"Not going to touch that," Rivers said on a conference call when asked about the officials. "I think Paul Pierce attacked just as much as LeBron James. I’ll leave it at that, OK?
"They are going to shoot a lot of free throws but we have to as well. I thought [Rajon] Rondo was extremely aggressive last night, and I thought Paul was aggressive last night, even more so when you watch the film. Paul is a powerful guy and there’s a lot of contact as well when he drives. We just want them to continue to be aggressive. You know LeBron and [Dwyane] Wade will be and there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s who they are. You know going into it: Yeah, they’re going to get to the free throw line. We have to do that as well and we have to do it by being just as aggressive."
Here are a few more highlights from the call:
On bringing the core back again next year: "I thought that a while ago but I don’t let myself even go there right now. I’m so focused on beating Miami and figuring out a way to beat this team. They beat us last year and we want to break through against them. I always think that, yeah sure."
On Garnett: "We didn’t involve him enough. We’ve got to involve him more than we did [in Game 2]. We’ve got to get him into the spots that we want him into, especially versus their fronts. His numbers looked good, but we can do a better job of getting Kevin involved offensively when he’s on the floor."
On Rondo's 44-point performance: "Where I was happy is Rondo had in my mind one of his best game of not pre-determining what he wanted to do, he took what they gave him and made something from that. I thought of all the adjustments he made from Game 1 to Game 2 that was it."
On their third quarter offense: "I really struggled getting them out of it. By the fourth quarter we were back playing the right way, but we’ve got to continue to do it. You’re not going to beat Miami on the strong side. You’re not going to beat Miami with ISOs. You have to have ball movement and the ball has to touch different hands and the ball has to change sides of the floor."
On the team's mood heading into Game 3: "We still know we have to play better but I think our guys know now that we can play. After Game 1, it was such a bad loss for us I think we needed to have that type of game. Obviously, we would have rather won it, but our guys are very confident going into Game 3."
For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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