The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
* Celtics must put Game 6 loss behind them immediately
* Pierce promises energy won't be an issue in Game 7
* Loose balls: Allen ends 3-pointer-less streak; Kobe ain't tripping
CELTICS MUST PUT GAME 6 LOSS BEHIND THEM IMMEDIATELY
Glen Davis didn't try to sugarcoat it.
"We got our ass kicked, point blank, simple," he said. "They came out and hit us hard. They beat us mentally and physically. They needed this and they did what they had to do to get it."
Facing elimination, the Lakers outhustled and outmuscled the Celtics from the opening tip, leaving Boston battered and bruised -- both mentally and physically, as Davis noted -- after Tuesday's tilt. Kendrick Perkins suffered a sprained right knee and remains questionable (at best) for Thursday's decisive Game 7, while Rajon Rondo needed four stitches to close a gash on his chin after absorbing a Ron Artest third-quarter elbow.
"I don't think it was intentional, but it was definitely a foul, one of the fouls that wasn't called," said Rondo, who showed the blood to officials during a timeout while incredulous that no whistle came from the blow. "But that's how it goes. You have to still continue to play the game. It didn't affect the way I tried to play. I didn't play much more after. The game was over obviously.
"As far as going into Game 7, we just have to bring it. Now our backs are against the wall. I think they played like that tonight, and we didn't. But we have to come back. This is a little bump or hiccup for us, but we have to come back and still fight and try to get a win."
The Celtics didn't make excuses for Tuesday's effort. They simply owned up to the ugly truth that they got outplayed Tuesday and appeared resigned to try again Thursday.
"I thought we would play better, obviously," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought they were ready. I just thought the Lakers played harder, better. They executed, they trusted more. I thought we played an individual game tonight, really on both ends. They jumped on us with 50‑whatever points in the first half, so we never had a chance to get into transition, to get Rondo going, which I thought hurt him.
"And we never gave ourselves an opportunity offensively because we didn't trust tonight. Everybody was trying to make their own plays. When we've done that this year, we've lost games. We've been blown out in some of those games, and if you do that against a team like the Lakers, and a team like the Lakers who are really ready to play and play desperate, you're going to lose, and I thought we did that."
PIERCE PROMISES ENERGY WON'T BE AN ISSUE IN GAME 7
Eyebrows shot skwyard as Pierce wound up to make a Game 7 proclamation following Tuesday's loss. Was he about to guarantee a victory?
"I promise you when I stand here on Thursday," started Pierce, "we will not be talking about energy."
:: Sigh :: Not exactly Namath-like, but given the way the Celtics found themselves trailing from the onset and unable to recover, you can see why energy would be a key topic to Pierce.
"I think it has to do with how you start the game," said Pierce. "For the most part, I thought we picked it up in the second quarter, but the offense wasn't there. We gotta do a good job of starting games off on the road. To find a way to win on the road, we have to come out here and play at a certain level. To compete with them, we gotta understand: This is the world champs on their home court for a chance at a title in Game 7. We know we gotta come out a lot harder in Game 7."
Rondo suggested the loss of Perkins midway through the first quarter detoured Boston's mental focus long enough for L.A. to race away.
"I think we were a little bit focused on if Perk was going to come back instead of just continuing to play," said Rondo. "As soon as halftime came, we all ran to the locker room and to the training room to see how he was feeling and if he was OK. Our energy went down a little bit, but for the most part it's not an excuse. We just came out and didn't have it."
The Big Three and Rondo pinned the blame on themselves for the Celtics not having that energy. Near the end of the game, they could be seen huddling on the bench, discussing what went wrong. While Pierce declined to share the contents of that conversation, Ray Allen obliged.
"We had a conversation at the end on the bench and a little bit in the locker room just now, and we take complete responsibility," said Allen. "I don't know, after the first quarter, I think it was 28-18, and we just put us in such a hole early. It affects our bench. We didn't give them any great rhythm, any great chemistry. I think we talked about our defense and how we allowed so many points, but I think it stemmed a lot from the offense because we didn't make the extra pass. Each individual tried to make the home run play early. With that, we turned the ball over, sent them into transition, then our defense couldn't really set up. They shot a couple 3's early to give a run. They were in transition the whole time.
* Allen, ice cold beyond the arc since setting a Finals record with eight trifectas in Game 2, snapped a three-game 3-pointer-less streak in the opening frame Tuesday. He finished 7-of-14 shooting overall for a team-high 19 points and connected on 2-of-5 triples in the game.
"I think my legs are where they need to be right now," said Allen. "I think, for a couple games, I was hindered a little bit, so I've been working on getting that strength back. Again, this team, we all have to do a better job of helping each other score, make the easier play. A couple lay-ups for any one of us, allows us to develop a great rhythm. Getting to the free‑throw line, I think we've got to do a better job of it, take the pressure off of shooting the long ball or let the shot clock expire as much as we have, just passing [the ball]. That's going to get us all better shots."
* Kobe Bryant isn't impressed with your hype machine, not even one that's set to be churning non-stop until tip-off in Thursday's pivotal Game 7. Asked about participating in an epic Celtics-Lakers clash, Bryant practically yawned.
"No different to me," he shrugged. "I don't mean to be a buzz kill, but it's not. I know what's at stake, but I'm not tripping."