Offday: C's seek better effort
NEW YORK -- The Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls are sharing the same New York hotel this week as both teams are in the city for their first-round playoff matchups. After both teams lost on Saturday -- the Knicks taking down the Celtics before the Brooklyn Nets thumped the Bulls -- coach Doc Rivers said the mood at the hotel was subdued.
“It’s not a good hotel today,” Rivers joked of the Manhattan oasis that was quoting $695 as the cheapest available Sunday-night room option. “Two losing teams, I think one should leave. This was a quiet, dark hotel last night. The New York area teams didn’t treat the guests very well.”
The Celtics gathered Sunday morning -- the first of two off days before Tuesday’s Game 2 -- to watch film from the 85-78 defeat. Boston’s veterans remained upbeat, convinced they did themselves in with turnovers, lackluster rebounding and poor offensive spacing. Rivers acknowledged there’s correctable mistakes, but said the Knicks would be better next time out as well.
“They’re going to play better too,” Rivers said. “J.R. Smith missed a couple open 3s. [Steve] Novak didn’t get involved. So we have to anticipate them playing way better, and then we have to play way better. And that’s what, in the playoffs, you just have to anticipate that.”
A handful of quotes and notes from the morning access:
* ROTATION CHANGES?: Rivers went with an eight-man rotation in Game 1, utilizing just three reserve guards (Jason Terry, Jordan Crawford and Courtney Lee). Rivers said he’ll consider adding a big man to the mix (not tipping his hand if it would be Shavlik Randolph or Chris Wilcox), but said he’ll remain guard-heavy against New York while eying addition minutes for Crawford. “I thought Jordan should have played more in the second half. It’s funny, he didn’t score, but he created baskets. And, I’ll tell you, he’s buying in defensively and if he can continue to do that, then he has a chance to help us.” Rivers said he’ll also try to drive down Jeff Green’s minutes a bit with the offensive load they are asking him to shoulder, which would open additional floor time for a reserve group that didn’t generate a single field goal Saturday.
* CONFIDENCE IN JET: Even after 35-year-old Terry went scoreless on Saturday -- the first time he’s been held without points in a playoff appearance -- Rivers offered a vote of confidence for the veteran guard. “We didn’t do a good job with [getting Terry going] last night,” Rivers said. “Especially in the second half, there were so many [isolations] that Jason has nothing to do with. In the first half, Jason didn’t score, but we ran that play with the pick-and-roll with him and Paul. We scored five times in a row because of Jason Terry’s involvement, so I don’t actually look at if he scored. I look at the points he created, and in the first half he created 12 points. In the second half, it was all isos. I mean, it’s not us. We’re not built that way.”
* GET THE BALL TO KG: Rivers admitted the team did a terrible job of establishing Kevin Garnett and expect the Celtics to run much of their offense through him, hoping his passing can create opportunities for others, while trying to drive up his shot total as well. Garnett said he’d be more aggressive: “I thought, from an offensive standpoint, I didn’t have a lot of different opportunities. Obviously, I had shots and stuff. Some went down, some didn’t. But I try not to let that predicate things or my level of play. I thought I moved the ball very well, got other guys open, was able to rebound obviously, trying to be as much of a force as I can on defense. In Game 2, I’d like to be a little more aggressive, obviously, but being consistent with the overall game.”
* MORE FROM EVERYBODY: Paul Pierce was asked if Boston needed more from a bench that provided just four points -- all on free throws -- during Saturday’s loss. He said it’s on the entire team. “I’m looking for a better overall effort, whether it’s the bench, whether it’s the starters,” Pierce said. “The starters, you look, me and Jeff had 12 turnovers -- just us two. We have to be better, regardless of our bench. Overall as a team, we have to be better.”
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates covers expectations for Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' outlook, LeSean McCoy's injury and Alex Smith's contract negotiations with the Chiefs.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Justin Havens discuss how teams that made major deals have fared since the deadline. Plus, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the strange circumstances caused by weather.