Pierce won’t hear of it
Talk of age already is getting a bit old
LOS ANGELES — The image of the Celtics turned from experienced and physical to old and passive after their 102-89 loss to the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday. But that was not Paul Pierce’s take.
“You get good praise when you win, negative praise when you lose,’’ Pierce said yesterday. “That’s just the nature of the business in anything you do. I really don’t pay attention to it. We’ve made it to the final round with this team with the guys we’ve got, regardless of their age or regardless of their experience. But I don’t buy into the fact of being too old, or whatever you guys are talking about.
“You know, we’re playing for a championship here. The loss definitely inspires us, but just being in the NBA Finals should inspire us. We don’t need anything to inspire us at this point of the season. It’s the Finals and we have a spark to go on and try to add on to it, but the inspiration is already there.’’
Pierce was looking forward to tomorrow’s Game 2 as the Celtics prepared for practice.
“We weren’t aggressive and we were on our heels,’’ Pierce said of the opener. “So, I guess if we were being passive, that’s one way to put it.
“Whatever the offensive game plan is, the coaches will devise. Players are going to make their own opinions of what they think should happen after a loss. I mean, it happens all the time. One player is going to think this and one will think that.
“I’m sure the coaches will do a good job of finding Kevin [Garnett] easy opportunities. We’re an equal-opportunity team, we don’t rely on one person to help carry us. It’s definitely important to get Kevin into a flow, and I’m going to do a better job of that next game.’’
“Ray has to play, we have to get Ray the ball, we have to get Paul the ball more,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “But they have to be on the floor more to do that. That hurt us. We had three non-shooters on the floor at the same time because we had no choice. That was tough. Two of Ray’s three fouls were off of Kobe. Those are the fouls Ray has to avoid to stay on the floor. But there are things we can do defensively with Paul and Ray to help Ray out in that way.’’
Just because the Celtics amassed 28 fouls to the Lakers’ 26, Rivers said that didn’t mean his team played physical.
“We fouled a lot. You know, we fouled a lot because they were standing next to the basket and we had no choice,’’ he said. “The first play of the game with [Ron] Artest and Paul, I guess that was physical. After that, I didn’t think on our part the game was physical at all.
“But we’re better. We were the retaliators for the most part and they were the instigators. They got to the floor first. But we know that. We just watched it again. We have to do other things as well, though. We have to execute better.’’
“I told our guys I assumed this would come up — I don’t know the record,’’ Rivers said. “I also said the last time we were in the Finals no team had ever come back from down 24 in the second half — at some point, it happened.’’
And it happened in Los Angeles, giving the Celtics a 3-1 lead in 2008.
“We really like it when they go bigger. It hurts us more when they go with Lamar Odom, really, because he’s more like a point forward. He dribbles the ball and stretches you out and [Pau] Gasol can work the inside. Either way, it’s difficult for us. It’s a challenge. I think we have the tools to go out there and shut them down, we just have to get it done.’’
Zuri Berry of the Globe staff contributed to this report.