Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't happy that his team dropped its third game in four nights, wrapping up a four-game road trip 1-3 after a Christmas Day win in Orlando. But he admitted the odds were stacked against his shorthanded team Wednesday night at Phoenix as it battles mounting injuries, and he said he hoped his troops learned how important it is to capture winnable games.
"The lesson we should learn on this trip is that when you give away games with the Clippers when you're healthy, then do it again [against the Warriors], and then when you're injured, you need those games back -- but you can't get them back," said Rivers. "This game would have been very difficult to win. They're a very good team. When you take your two best scorers away against a scoring team ... you might not win that game. This game doesn't affect me at all.
"I expected to win. I think we pay everybody. As long as you do, you have to come in with the expectation to win. I didn't like the way we started the first six minutes of the game. I thought we didn't have that thought in our mind and then I thought we actually competed from there. We just couldn't get shots to fall. When you're down on your luck with injuries and your other guys can't make shots they normally make, you're probably going to lose the game."
A few more postgame thoughts from Doc:
* Rivers heaped praise on point guard Rajon Rondo for gutting out 32 minutes despite a sore left hamstring. Rondo finished with 13 points and eight assists, but also had a team-worst minus-21 in the plus/minus category. Even still, Rivers lauded his efforts: "Even when he plays on one leg he can dominate a game."
* Rivers chastised Kendrick Perkins for picking up his league-leading 10th technical foul. While noting it was disappointing because Perkins is a good kid who simply seems to let his emotions get the best of him, Rivers said Perkins has to rebuild his reputation with referees. "You know the thing about a reputation: You earn it. It's not like they give you one. He made his reputation. Now, he has to learn to control [his emotions]."
* Rivers praised his bench, including J.R. Giddens (4 points, 3 rebounds, 8 minutes) and Shelden Williams (14 points, 5 rebounds, 19 minutes). "When [Glen Davis] came back, Shelden doesn't play, but he comes back [Wednesday] and plays well, plays hard. That was good."