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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Offday access: Let's get physical

By Chris Forsberg



MIAMI -- Physicality was the hot topic of the day as the Boston Celtics met with reporters at their team hotel Tuesday afternoon following a film session to break down the woes from a Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat to open the Eastern Conference finals.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers put a heavy emphasis on how the team allowed Miami to convert a whopping 19 layups and said that was simply unacceptable. Rivers wants his team to protect the paint better and be more physical, but made sure to stress he didn't want this series turning chippy.

"It entails not allowing them to have 19 layups," Rivers said when asked how his team needs to be more physical. "But that doesn’t mean physical as far as we’re going to start fouling and knocking people down. We foul on our own anyway. What we have to do is protect the paint better, play better defense."

Rivers thought the easy layups made things difficult for Boston on both ends of the floor on Monday.

"I think if we (protect the paint), our offense will be much better," he said. "Because that means we’re getting stops, multiple stops and we’re out running. Part of the reason we didn’t run much (in Game 1 was) because they scored half the time, or they got offensive rebounds and layups. We have to get multiple stops so we can get (point guard Rajon) Rondo in transition."

Rondo created a bit of a stir after Monday's game when he suggested the Celtics have to make the Heat "hit the deck" more often moving forward. Some took it as a suggestion that Boston might escalate things in a way similar to the Heat's previous series against the Indiana Pacers, which got very physical and included numerous flagrant fouls and suspensions for the Heat’s Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman.

"Nothing flagrant, nothing dirty," clarified Rondo. "When we drove, we hit the deck a lot."

Now the Celtics want to make the Heat earn those points instead of allowing a layup line. If that means delivering a hard foul, so be it.

"It’s got to be more physical from our part," captain Paul Pierce said. "We’ve got to show better resistance. We thought it was way too easy for them in Game 1 and they looked very comfortable. Hopefully in Game 2 we can make it little bit more uncomfortable for them. We’re a team that really thrives on our physicality, our defense, our half-court grind-it-out style. And now we have to show it."


A handful of other news and notes after the session:

* Asked what's at stake in Game 2, Rondo didn't shy away from dubbing it a must-win game for Boston. "It's the conference finals, we can’t just keep giving games away," he said. "We feel this is a must-win game for us. Eventually if we’re going to beat these guys, we're going to have to beat them at some point in time at home."

* Across the room, Pierce tried to limit any sense of panic, suggesting a win on Wednesday swings the momentum to Boston. "We're always trying to get one, it's a chance to take the home-court advantage away and put the pressure back on them," said Pierce. "Game 1, we didn't play well in the second half, but we'll try to get Game 2. There's no need to panic right now. We'll make adjustments and hopefully we can tie this thing up."

* Asked if he takes anything from Boston's 35-point, second-quarter outburst, Rivers said, "(It was a) small lineup, so you take a little bit out of it. Honestly, I take more out of the other three quarters. As poorly as those quarters were played, there was a lot of things that we did well -- we just didn’t finish. We didn’t finish the possession defensively, we gave up offensive rebounds, we missed point-blank layups in those same stretches. We have to get more multiple stops so we can run. Obviously, the positive (second quarter) is great, but that’s kind of fool’s gold in a lot of ways."

* Garnett on if the Celtics need more production overall, even from ailing bodies like Ray Allen: "Everybody has to dig deep. Everybody has to look at themselves and bring more. Period. Not just Ray, but everybody." Rivers echoed that sentiment later noting, "We need more from the Boston Celtics. We’re not going to go and point at one guy. It's all of us -- coaching staff, players -- we can all do better."

* Earlier today we noted that Boston sampled a zone look and got a bit lucky when Miami missed five wide-open 3-pointers. Rivers admitted the Celtics need to tighten that up, but still plans to offer zone looks in this series. "Honestly, I think our zone will play a part in this series, but not if we play it like we played it last night. It was a case of them missing wide-open shots. I told our guys that, 'That was a horrendous zone last night.’ They will score if you play it that way. We have to be better in a lot of areas."

* Allen was discussing his confidence as a free-throw shooter -- this after missing four free throw attempts in Monday's loss -- and noted he once hit 100 in a row, then stopped. Why? "I believed if I kept going, I’d make 500 in a row," he said. "(But) unless I’m doing it for a record or someone is challenging me, I’m like Forrest Gump -- I just stop running."