Practice: Film don't lie
NEW YORK -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the team had a productive film session Sunday, honing in on all the mistakes the visitors made while falling to the New York Knicks in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round series. Rivers is confident his team will respond with a better effort during Tuesday's Game 2 but knows the Knicks will likely do the same.
"The film never lies," Rivers said. "It didn’t. I thought our guys were great, though; they saw what we could have done and what we didn’t do, and again, I’m sure New York saw the same thing. I expect them to have a great game tomorrow, and I expect us to play a lot better as well."
Rivers liked a good amount of what his team did and the way it competed. But he knows the Celtics have to clean up some areas, particularly eliminating what Paul Pierce had previously dubbed "boneheaded" miscues.
"I’m always pleased with [effort,]" Rivers said. "We played hard. 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. We made a lot of hard plays -- even Courtney [Lee] saves the ball inbounds [but led to an easy New York basket], that was hustling. So you give him an A for effort. 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 the other night."
Pierce said the film only confirmed what he already saw on the floor.
"Everything we didn't do well was pretty obvious," Pierce said. "I mean, turnovers, defense was solid, offensive execution -- the main things that led to the loss."
Added Pierce: "We've just got to be a little more patient, take our time, understand what sets we're running, understand who we're trying to get the ball to, continue to play pressure defense. Not to say that every game is going to play out. Who's to say that we're going to hold two of their starters scoreless or J.R. [Smith is] going to shoot bad or Carmelo [Anthony is] going to have a huge night? Every game plays out different. But the one constant thing, I think, is our effort on the defensive end and we have to control our turnovers. Those are the two biggest issues for us."
Read on for more notes from the team's afternoon practice on the floor at Madison Square Garden:
* AVOIDING THE 0-2 HOLE? The Celtics are in danger of falling into an 0-2 hole with a loss Tuesday, and, while Rivers said his team clearly needs to steal a road game in order to win this series, he wouldn't buy the idea that this is a must-win. "I want to go 1-1, so I don’t even think in those terms. Listen, they are playing at home, we’re going to play at home eventually," he said. "If we have to win this series, we have to win a game on the road. I could take any of them. You have four chances if you hold [serve at] home. But I think sometimes you have to win twice on the road, because I'm sure they are thinking they have to win once in Boston."
* BIG IN THE MIX? Rivers had hinted Sunday that he would consider adding a big man to the rotation -- although he wouldn't indicate whether it would be Shavlik Randolph or Chris Wilcox. On Monday, he suggested the goal with adding a big man would be to limit minutes for Boston's starters in order to preserve them for late-game situations (particularly after a seemingly out-of-gas Boston squad mustered just eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 1). "The game will dictate it," Rivers said. "They stay small most of the game, so you don’t have to [go big]. I just want to make sure everybody’s fresh, so we may do it more in the first half, and let the game dictate it."
* DOC TAKES BLAME FOR BENCH: After a three-man bench of Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry was held to four points and zero field goals, Rivers took the blame for not putting them in better positions to succeed. "I hurt the bench more than the bench hurt themselves," he said. "I didn’t play them a lot. ... You know you’re going to shorten your bench a little bit. And even if you don’t shorten you bench, you’re going to shorten the minutes of the bench. That’s just the way the playoffs go. I would still rather play Kevin [Garnett] and Paul and Jeff [Green] and those guys. They are going to play, and the question is what minutes is too much for those guys? And that’s where we’re always trying to figure that out."
* PRAISE FOR FELTON AND KIDD: Even as the Knicks prepare for the possible return of Pablo Prigioni, Rivers acknowledged that Boston needs to do a better job on the point guard combo of Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, who were each disruptive at different ends of the floor. "Felton hurt us with his penetration, and we have to do a better job, bottom line," he said. "We have to do a better job in our pick-and-roll coverage. He rejected two or three pick-and-rolls, he attacked us off the dribble, we just have to keep him square. And Kidd was just Kidd. Kidd just made plays. And he didn’t do a lot with the ball. He did a lot on defense, with strips and being in the right place; he anticipates things so well. I can’t take his brain away. There’s nothing I can do about that. So we just have to keep him out of those situations."
* SPEAKING OF POINT GUARDS: Rajon Rondo was on the floor shagging balls for his teammates before the session. Rivers playfully called out to Rondo to ask whether he was practicing today, but Rondo, two months removed from ACL surgery, said he was sitting this one out.
* #BOSTONSTRONG IN NEW YORK: These shoes say it all.
Play Podcast The ESPN Boston High School football crew previews the 2014 high school football season.
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.