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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Back to boarding school

Film class focuses on poor rebounding

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / April 21, 2011

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WALTHAM — The theme of yesterday’s film session for the Celtics was clear from the first set of clips. The lessons from Game 2 against the Knicks were around rebounding.

The Celtics walked away with a 96-93 victory Tuesday night, but they were beaten on the boards, 53-37. And not improving on fundamentals could lead to more challenging games.

In the midst of Tuesday’s game, Ray Allen looked up and realized the Knicks were shooting 40 percent, yet it was a 1-point game.

The rebounding struggles begin with positioning, Allen said.

“Seeing the plays throughout the game where if you don’t get back on defense — you’ve got that celebratory run and you trot back a little bit on defense — they attack those seams,’’ Allen said.

In the first four seconds on the defensive end, while the Celtics were trotting up the court, Allen said, the Knicks tested Boston’s defense. And without a player in position, the rebounds easily landed in the hands of a Knick.

The Knicks took advantage, scoring 24 points on second-chance opportunities, compared with 6 by the Celtics.

“We can play smarter and we can do that,’’ said coach Doc Rivers. “We gave them so many extra possessions and things like that. A lot of them was our rotations that we have to get better at.

“We’re 2-0, and that’s good. The thing is, we have to play better and we will play better.’’

Waiting on Shaq
Shaquille O’Neal will not play in Game 3 tomorrow, but Rivers expects him to play at some point in the playoffs. Rivers said O’Neal seems to be improving from the calf injury he suffered against Detroit April 3 and may try to practice today. “If he goes on the trip, that means we think he’ll play Sunday, but we’re not sure,’’ Rivers said . . . Glen Davis considers himself the leader of the Celtics’ second unit, but Rivers is asking him to do a little more. In Game 2, Davis had 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 fouls in 26:57 off the bench. Yesterday, Rivers said the team needs more. When Davis was asked how he could play better, he said, “How do you define better? I only had three shots. That’s the way the game goes. I would say the effort was there. I tried my hardest. Everybody makes mistakes, but everybody could be better, not just Baby.’’ In two games, Davis has played 52:24 and is 3 of 11 from the field. He missed both of his free throw attempts and has 11 rebounds. But the message wasn’t lost on him. “If I need to play better,’’ he said, “that’s what I need to do.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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