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Sunday, May 2, 2010
Practice report: Need for 'Sheed?

By Chris Forsberg

CLEVELAND -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena in advance of Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cleveland Cavaliers:

The rundown (a quick look at practice headlines)
* Doc wants more from 'Sheed; willing to call Shelden
* Pierce: C's have to treat Game 2 like it's Game 7
* Loose balls: C's confirm errors in film work; Too much Rondo?

Doc wants more from 'Sheed; ready to call Shelden



Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't sound ready to pull the plug on the Rasheed Wallace experiment quite yet, but admitted that, if Wallace's defensive play doesn't improve moving forward, he's willing to consider utilizing Shelden Williams more off the bench instead.

"[Wallace] has to play better, bottom line," said Rivers, who has given Wallace plenty of rope this season. "He has to play better defense -- the offense will come -- but he has to be a better defender. And we can't wait for him. He has to be a better defender for us."

Wallace, underwhelming for much of the 2009-10 season, continues to provide little in the way of production in the postseason despite all the playoff experience he brought with him to Boston. After logging a mere two points and two rebounds over 13 minutes in Saturday's Game 1 loss, Wallace is now at minus-20 in the plus/minus for the postseason, the lowest number on a team that's won four of the six games it has played.

Rivers seemed unwilling to completely yank Wallace from the rotation, but noted that Williams won't be overlooked.

"{Williams] enters the discussion every day," said Rivers. "He's definitely in the discussion, there's no doubt about that."

The 35-year-old Wallace is averaging 3.5 points on a mere 35 percent shooting and 2 rebounds per game this postseason. This from a player who has averaged 14.2 points on 44.5 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds over 159 career playoff games. What's more, he's slow to react on defense, often getting raced past by ball-handlers and struggling to corral 50/50 balls against more athletic big men.

Asked if Wallace's minutes could be on the decline, after already slipping in the first round, Rivers said simply: "It could be. The bottom line is he has to play better. And we'll give him every opportunity to play well."

Williams, who is playing in his first playoff series in his four years in the league, has appeared in only one game, logging 18 minutes against Miami in the Game 2 that Kevin Garnett was suspended for.

Asked about more potential playing time before that game, Williams said he doesn't change his preparation.

"You prepare like you prepare for every game," he said. "If it happens or if it doesn’t happen, you go in the same way... Like I said, I go into the game preparing to play, and if it plays out like that, I’ll be ready."

Wallace is clearly the superior player when he plays to his abilities, but his abilities appear to have diminished rapidly this season. Even with numerous starts for injured Garnett, Wallace did not register a single double-double this year. Even Williams registered one double-double at the start of the year while playing in place of injured Glen Davis.

Pierce: C's have to treat Game 2 like it's Game 7



"Sense of urgency" has been a familiar catchphrase around the Celtics this season. It crops up whenever Boston steer itself into an unsavory position, which has been a fairly regular occurrence since late December.

Facing the prospect of digging themselves an 0-2 hole with a loss Monday night, Celtics captain Paul Pierce urged his teammates to elevate their play in Game 2.

"The urgency has to go up, we don't want to go down 2-0 and put yourself in that type of hole, especially against a team like Cleveland," said Pierce. "The urgency is there. We felt like Game 1 was important, but we let it slip away due to little things. Hopefully we clean those things up, come back with the same type of mindset, the same type of energy, with a little more perfection in our game and we'll be alright.

"We gotta play Game 2 like it's Game 7."

Especially since the stats don't particularly favor the Celtics after a Game 1 loss. The Cavaliers have never lost a series after winning Game 1 (10-0, regardless of series length), while home teams that win Game 1 in best-of-seven series are 256-40 all-time in the NBA playoffs, or a sterling winning percentage of 86.5 percent.

"The first game is the first game," said Davis. "It's tough because we felt like we should have won. But it is what it is. We still gotta play Monday. We still gotta play two games at home. The season is far from over."

Loose balls: C's confirm errors in film work; Too much Rondo?



* The Celtics watched film for 45 minutes before trekking to the Q for an afternoon practice session and the tapes only confirmed Rivers' suspicion that his team settled for too many jumpers in the second half.

“I thought we settled,” said Rivers. “I said it after the game, but usually after the game you say stuff and then you watch the film and only half of it is true... It's pretty much what we saw. We bailed them out on a lot of shots -- quick shots. We didn't make a lot of next passes. We didn't attack. They had guys flying at us in the air, and we were still trying to shoot jump shots, instead of putting the ball back on the floor. That's not even an adjustment. That's what we should do anyway."

* Did the Celtics lean on Rondo too much Saturday night? Rivers thought maybe they didn't lean on him enough.

"Ask [Cleveland], did they rely too much on LeBron?" Rivers said while noting Rondo's domination in the pick-and-roll during the first half. "You got something going, you stick with it. I thought we should have done it more. I said it before the series, I think it's a good advantage. I actually thought we didn't do it enough. It's a tough one for Rondo, because sometimes, he's so conscious of trying to get Paul and Ray [Allen] involved. I told him, 'Listen, you got the pick-and-roll advantage, we want you to take advantage.'"

* Allen noted the Celtics need to do a better job quieting the hot hand, even if that player isn't the now-two-time MVP James.

"The difference in [Game 1], I believe, was Mo Williams," said Allen. "We have to recognize the flow of the game and understand that, if anybody gets hot, we have to make adjustments. Our defensive antennae have to go up."

Rivers noted that a second-half switch on James that flip-flopped defensive responsibilities between Pierce and Allen, might have weakened Boston's help defense and caused confusion that allowed both Williams and James to catch fire.