With Chauncey Billups listed as doubtful for Game 2, Toney Douglas may very likely get the call to start at point guard. In his latest ESPNNewYork.com playoff diary entry, Douglas looks back on his first-ever playoff game and shares how he and the team are preparing for tonight.
How was your first playoff experience?
It was a great experience, knowing that the atmosphere is going to be crazy. There's a lot of stuff to prepare for; it's totally different than the regular season -- big playbooks, more film sessions, longer shootarounds and practices -- and every detail is real important.
What were your emotions like when you were walking to the scorer's table, about to check into the game?
I'm glad I seized that moment. It was a great experience. I always, when I was a kid, wanted to play in the playoffs. Being my second year in the league, I got there and it's a great accomplishment for us as a team. I just gotta seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunity, and do what I have to do to help the team win.
Did you hear the Knicks fans in the arena?
Yeah, I hear them. But i just try to keep my mind mentally focused, turn my phone off and just study -- a lot of film so I can have an edge and an advantage over my opponent.
You guys did a great job defensively in Game 1, especially in that second quarter, forcing them into six turnovers. What do you credit that success to?
Our defense is going to be key for this whole series -- keep that same defense or even better. If everybody is locked in and focused on the one page then we'll be fine. We're going to make some mistakes, but at the end of the day, it's the playoffs; we won't have a lot of margin for error.
The pick-and-roll is an NBA staple and the Celtics defend that play well. What do you take away from their P&R defense in Game 1 that will help you create more space for yourself on the perimeter and find your shot in Game 2?
We gotta move the ball. We can't just hold the ball with them; they're a good defensive team -- all five [starting] players. So if we move the ball and play with each other, we'll be fine.
How are you overall preparing for tonight?
Watching a lot of film, a lot of film. I'm going to go back to the [hotel] room, watch film and study the playbook and player personnel -- just in case I get switched out on Paul [Pierce], [Ray] Allen or [Rajon] Rondo; what they like to do, their tendencies. That's one thing I learned from Chauncey. I learned a lot from him. Having an edge over your opponent is going to be real key.
How about Anthony Carter, your other veteran point guard? What have you learned from him?
Oh, he talks a lot. He's a leader out there, on the court or even on the bench, especially on the defensive end. He makes sure that we get it right, and that's a person I look up to and I listen to him too. I listen to everybody. Just because I'm a second-year player, my teammates even listen to me. It doesn't matter that I'm young because there are some things out there I can see that they don't see, and that we can get better at too.
From December to April during the regular season, you increased your scoring every month, and when you started in Chauncey's eight-game absence, you played well, averaging 13.6 points and 5.8 assists. How have you been able to progress so fast in your second year in the league?
I stay in the gym. I'm a gym rat. Every morning for practice at 11, I wake up at 7:30. I work out on the court for an hour, do conditioning, lift weights, do a lot of core stuff and at night I come back and get shots up. I need repetitions. I've always been a player where I can miss six in a row, but I'll shoot the next one like I made it because I'm confident enough that I can make that shot. And my teammates and my coaches have confidence in me. I'm never going to get down on myself because at the end of the day, all it takes is one shot to go in, one free throw, something to get my rhythm going.
So are you ready to start tonight if need be?
Yes, I'm ready, no matter what -- if I come off the bench or even if I start. I've prepared my mind and my body for every situation that happens, so I'm prepared for it. I'm ready to take on the challenge and play defense [on Rondo], and do whatever I need to do to help the team win.
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