The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
Rondo says he's fine; opines on final play
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo downplayed the muscle spasms that sent him to the locker room before the end of the first half, chalking up his quiet night to simply a poor personal performance.
"I'm fine, I just didn't play well," said Rondo.
Rondo, limited by three first-half fouls, registered only five points and four assists in 15:08 before the intermission and retreated to the locker room with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter.
He returned to action to start the third quarter, but finished with nine points, eight assists, three rebounds, and three steals over 42:57 -- quiet for Rondo's lofty playoff standards. But both he and Rivers suggested the injury had little to do with any lack of production.
"I didn't even know [about Rondo retreating to the locker room]," Rivers said after the game. "I knew early on he said he was fatigued. He told, I think [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and maybe when he went in, that was the spasms he was talking about. Honestly, I didn't check. When I came in at halftime, he said he was good. I don't really ask. If the trainer comes to you, then you know it's something serious. If he doesn't, you just let it go."
Rondo struggled running through staggered double screens in the defensive end, as the Magic abused him in the pick-and-roll. Both Rondo and Rivers admitted he has to do a better job of fighting through them.
Rondo also seemed a bit steamed on the final possession of the game, which seemed disjointed and ultimately ended with Paul Pierce fumbling away the ball as he frantically tried to get off a potential winning shot. Rondo, who was open on the wing and calling for the ball, seemed upset that it never came and Rivers went out of his way to talk with Rondo before the extra session.
Asked his thoughts on the final play and not calling a timeout to set something up, Rondo noted, "That’s what Doc wanted, we just didn’t come up with the shot."
And did the play develop as it should have?
"Yeah, we wanted [Pierce] with the ball, [but] they made the play."
Rondo suggested that both he individually, and the Celtics as a team, needed to move past Game 4 and focus on the next chance to close out in Game 5.
"It's very frustrating," said Rondo. "We didn't get to close out, but we gotta move on to Game 5. We gave them confidence, now we gotta try to take it back away. They're pretty confident at home, so we gotta get off to a good start on the road."
Boston's offense goes stagnant on 'hero' ball
One of the reasons the Celtics have been so successful at times this postseason has been their ability to avoid what Rivers describes as, "hero ball," or when the ball stops moving and every Boston player seems more concerned with hitting the big shot than executing the offense.
It plagued the Celtics throughout Game 4.
"We fall into that at times," said Rivers. "I thought everybody wanted to win the game. I thought everybody showed up to win the game. But I think, at times, when you have a chance to do something, close a series out or win a big game, each guy tries to do it themselves. I didn't think we trusted each other tonight at all with the pass or with the execution. It happens."
The Celtics spent the better part of three quarters desperately trying to even the game. It seemed like every time they got within a bucket, players started launching ill-advised 3-pointers, or settling for low-percentage jumpers. Boston finally got over the hump heading into the fourth quarter, and an inability to convert offensively ultimately plagued them in both the fourth frame and the extra session.
"We have such great talent on this team, such great individual talent on both ends of the floor that ... each guy feels like they can make the shot to win the game for us," said Ray Allen. "Sometimes that's been at our team's detriment. So sometimes pulling back for all of us, like you come off, you have the ball, just swing it. Sometimes I might have a shot, but Kevin [Garnett] might have an easier one. Just plays like that. The unselfishness out there on the floor. When we're great, that's what we do. I think there were spurts tonight where we weren't great. We were just average."
And being average on offense tends to make Boston merely average on defense as well.
"At the end of the day, even though we struggled to get some momentum offensively, we still didn’t play any defense down the stretch," said Pierce. "We gave them a three, offensive rebounds, and sent them to the line there in the fourth quarter and overtime. Those type of things hurt when you’re trying to come back. But we made our bed, we gotta lay in it, and move on.”
Loose balls: Redick makes Sox-Yankees reference; Ray seeks rest
* Stan Van Gundy is rallying his troops by pointing out that someone has to be the first team to rally from a 3-0 deficit.
"I've seen it a lot of times: If you don't think you can win the series, a lot of times people say, you can't think about winning the series," said Van Gundy. "You have to win one game. I've never really bought into that. I've never been down 3‑0 as a head coach. I've been 3‑1. Stuff like that. If you don't believe you're going win the series, then it's just too easy to let go. Yeah, you've got to play it one game at a time. But you have to have a belief somewhere that you can win the series. Otherwise there's just not enough to sustain you and to keep you going in a game.
"Like I said, at some point, somebody is going to come from 3‑0 down and win a series. The only thing I knew for sure was it would start by winning Game 4."
* J.J. Redick is even making references to Boston's baseball team to inspire confidence.
“You never know what can happen," said Redick. "Maybe we will be like the Red Sox and come back against the Yankees. You never know.”
* Jameer Nelson admitted he didn't call glass on the first of two pivotal 3-pointers to open overtime.
"I didn't call the bank shot, but it went in," said Nelson. "And, you know, like I said, I kind of misjudged where I was at. I was kind of, for the first time, wide open, and it kind of shocked me. I kind of rushed my shot, but it went in and I'm happy it did. It was a big shot at a crucial point of the game."
* How do the Celtics plan to get ready for Game 5? Allen suggests plenty of rest.
"I'll probably run four or five miles [Tuesday]," he joked. "No. The night is already worn on so long as it is already, probably somewhere around 12:30 [a.m.] Sleeping in, most definitely, and then just getting your rest, flying down [to Orlando Tuesday] and just getting as much rest as necessary. Even the next day, going into Wednesday getting rest. The recovery is very big for us on these off‑days. I feel great. I look forward to playing again on Wednesday."