Celtics expect Philly's best punch in Game 4

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
4:47
PM ET
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Celtics took Thursday off from on-court activities, but gathered inside their hotel ballroom for an afternoon film session during which coach Doc Rivers planned to remind his team that one quality win does not ensure a series victory.

Boston throttled the Philadelphia 76ers in Wednesday's Game 3, seizing a 2-1 lead in an Eastern Conference semifinal series, but Rivers is imploring his team to bring similar focus and energy to Game 4 on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.

"We’re taking one game at a time; we won the first one (in Philadelphia), now we have another one," said Rivers. "But the key for us is to keep our focus and play with the same energy, not play like we won and now we can relax. You have to win the series, that’s the point here. You have to take one game at a time. You can’t look at whether you lost or won; the last game is over, now we have a new game."

When the topic of whether this could potentially be the last rodeo for Boston's Big Three came up (yet again), Rivers brushed it aside and put the focus back on Game 4.

"I have no idea, I really don’t," he said. "I don’t play (the last rodeo) up, I can tell you that. This is this year. Hell, I don’t know what’s going to go on two months from now and I don’t want think about it. We have to take care of tomorrow. We have to watch film today, and get ready for tomorrow, and then after that, it’s the next game. And that’s how it’s gotta be for us. We’ve been forced into that with all the injuries and stuff we’ve gone through. We’ve become a single-game team, and that’s what we have to stay."

The way point guard Rajon Rondo sees it, there's always room for improvement, even after Boston's dominant effort in Game 3 stole back home-court advantage and the momentum in the series.

"We didn’t play a perfect game," said Rondo. "We made a lot more shots than we did in Game 2, but there’s some things we can do defensively to make adjustments, to try to continue to shut those guys down. They scored 33 points in the first quarter, that’s a quarter we can look at. They made some tough shots, they got into the paint, which we don’t want to allow. We still have some room to improve as well."

Celtics captain Paul Pierce is expecting Philly's best punch on Friday.

"We know they’re going to play a better game," he said. "They’re at home again, backs against the wall if we win this next game [because] I like our chances with two games at home, so you gotta expect a better game from them, get behind their crowd and play better ball. We have to be able to come out and take their first punch, withstand it and just try to grind it out like we did [in Game 3]."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9