The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
Fouls hurt C's, but refs weren't the difference
If the Celtics weren't convinced that the referees were out to get them already, Jason Phillips, one-third of the officiating crew in Saturday's Game 1 against Cleveland, inadvertently ran in front of Ray Allen as he received the ball with a chance for a late-game 3-pointer that he ultimately passed up because of the screen.
This after Boston wracked up 25 personal fouls, including five that limited Glen Davis' available time off the bench, and four on Rajon Rondo that sidelined him during a crucial third-quarter stretch in which Cleveland rallied from an 11-point deficit.
But, truth be told, the Celtics weren't that upset after Saturday's game and likely bit their tongues enough to avoid any $35,000 requests from the NBA offices.
Even the Celtics admitted the referees didn't decide the outcome of the game. But they certainly didn't make things any easier on Boston.
"It had an impact, but not that big," said Rivers. "It was with us. Maybe mentally, guys were worried about fouls. I told them at halftime, I don't care if everybody fouls out by the third quarter -- don't change. We were winning because we were attacking. [The Cavaliers] won the game because they attacked in the second half.
"You can't worry. We had enough guys. I told the bigs that. I told [Davis], 'I don't care if you foul out in the first half. You have to be energy guy.' I'm using Baby as an example, but he went away from being an energy guy because he was concerned about his fouls. I thought, overall, in the second half, we just went away from what we're supposed to be."
Echoed Rondo, Boston's offensive spark plug all night: "We stopped being aggressive. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. We stopped our pressure, they started attacking us, and we fell back on our heels."
Davis picked up three fouls in little more than five minutes of court time in the first half. Rasheed Wallace earned three quick ones as well. Paul Pierce picked up his third foul with 1:57 to go in the first half, limiting his ability to attack, particularly in the pivotal third quarter.
"I got my third foul, which really hurt me in the first half, and I wasn't as aggressive in the third quarter as I wanted to be," said Pierce. "I can't really worry about that. I just have to continue to play and be aggressive on both ends of the court and see what happens.
"I'm not a player that fouls out. I'm not a player that is always in foul trouble, so I'm smart enough to keep myself on the floor without picking up fouls. I picked up a couple fouls tonight that I didn't want to pick up, but that is the way the game goes sometimes."
Kevin Garnett said the Celtics had no reason to complain, noting that referees don't typically give road teams many calls, especially not in the postseason.
"You gotta play through it," said Garnett. "This is not the time to be [expletive] or complaining to the refs. You gotta play. Say your piece, say your two cents and try to keep it moving."
Foul trouble, Perk's stitches leave C's with big problem
Celtics center Kendrick Perkins required five stitches to close an upper-lip lacerations sustained in the first quarter of Saturday's game.
Perkins returned in the second quarter and finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds over 32 minutes. Even with the stitch marks on the right side of his face after the game, Perkins seemed more concerned about how the Celtics fell apart at the seams.
"We didn’t take their punch very well," said Perkins. "They punched us, we gave in.
"Mo Williams had a big third quarter and LeBron was LeBron. I thought we did a good job of shutting everyone else down. But we've got to keep attacking. I thought we got jump-shot happy. We've got to keep attacking the basket. [Shaquille O'Neal] had five fouls, we have to keep driving."
Loose balls: LeBron's elbow, TA's tech
* Asked how LeBron James' injured elbow looked during Game 1, Pierce feigned ignorance when he joked, "I didn't even know he was injured."
You'd hardly know from his stat line. James finished with a game-high 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting with 7 rebounds and 7 assists over 43:12. Asked after the game how his elbow feels, James, who will be awarded his second consecutive MVP award Sunday, admitted it's still not 100 percent.
"It's been better, but it's not an excuse for me," said James. "I don't make any excuses and I'll be ready any day."
* Tony Allen, who isn't bashful about displaying his emotions on the sideline, got tagged with a technical foul while trying to cool down Rondo after Boston's point guard got called for a first-half charge. Allen barked a little too much after stepping onto the court to calm an angered Rondo.
* On a night the Celtics desperately needed production from Rasheed Wallace, he posted another dismal performance. Wallace connected on 1-of-5 shots for 2 points and 2 rebounds over 11 minutes. He did log three fouls, picking up his third with 9:08 to play in the second quarter trying to poke the ball free from Delonte West as he blew past him off the wing. Wallace was promptly replaced by Kevin Garnett.
Wallace returned with 4:46 to play in the third quarter and Boston clinging to a seven-point lead, he promptly missed a 3-pointer and 17-foot jumper while Cleveland rallied ahead before the end of the frame.
While Rivers appears reluctant to utilize Shelden Williams as part of a shortened bench postseason rotation, he did utilize Marquis Daniels for a brief period Saturday, and absolutely must consider Williams' energy and rebounding potential given Wallace's inability to hang with Cleveland's mobile bench bigs.