- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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AP Photo/Duane Burleson
Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew this game in Detroit would be trouble.Trips to Detroit have been nothing but a headache for the Celtics in recent seasons (KG's injury scare; Big Baby's heckler) and Celtics coach Doc Rivers had a not-so-sneaking suspicion that this year would be no different.
Playing their fourth game in five nights (and seventh in 10 days), a heavy-legged Celtics squad trudged through a 103-83 thumping at the hands of the 2-9 Pistons, who hadn't previously won a game on their home turf at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
"Dead man walking -- that's what it felt like, really," Rivers told reporters in Detroit. "Give Detroit credit, I thought they played extremely hard. I could see it early, I even told our coaches, when we started subbing guys in and out, we just had no legs. We would take all the shots that we had; none were going in.
"In the third quarter I said, 'Guys, are you getting wide-open shots?' and they all said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Are any going in?' and they said, 'No.' I said,' Why?' And I said, 'You're tired. Take a step in. Try to do something to get closer to the basket.' I tried to junk the game up and go small and even that -- we just didn't have it."
But Rivers refused to get overly worked up about the loss considering the conditions.
"Oh, it's not a step back at all," Rivers said. "I mean, we lost one game. That's all it is."
Rivers did take solace in the fact that no other stretch of Boston's schedule will be this daunting.
"I thought some guys fought through it," Rivers said. "You can learn mental toughness and all that, but, listen, we won't have another stretch like this the entire season. That's the toughest stretch -- seven games in 10 days -- we won't do that again this entire season. So, when I saw the schedule, I saw that last game, I said, 'This is going to be a hard game for us to win.' I said it before, but I thought we could figure out a way of pulling it out. We just couldn't."