Rivers: Plug up air
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Celtics coach Doc Rivers can live with a hot-shooting opponent. But he’s not as OK with allowing that same player uncontested shots.
Heat forward James Jones converted 5 of 7 3-pointers Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and Rivers was frustrated at seeing Jones taking any shot he wanted without a green jersey in sight. The wide open spaces made it even easier for Jones to set a Miami postseason record with 25 points off the bench.
“We don’t give up threes, period. He made five, right? And he had seven open ones. So that’s seven too many, as far as we’re concerned,’’ Rivers said. “The fact that he took seven threes without taking one dribble, when you think about it, that’s poor defense.
“You’ve still got to make them. And that’s where you give James all the credit. But to give a shooter seven threes, and he never had to put the ball on the floor one time, that’s tough for any of us to handle. You can’t give great shooters spot-up jump shots.’’
The lack of attention to Jones was just one example of the carelessness the Celtics showed in a 99-90 loss. They had 14 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Heat.
Yesterday the Celtics gathered to watch film of Game 1, but the session didn’t reveal anything the team didn’t already know, center Jermaine O’Neal said.
“You can say it was multiple things,’’ O’Neal said. “I’ve heard people say it was rust because we were off for a while. But here’s the bottom line: in the playoffs, it’s all about taking care of business. You can have excuses about why you didn’t do something, but excuses lead to losses.
“Right now it’s about improving what we did wrong, whether it was bad cuts, or [not] finding James Jones in the corner, or any of their guys. We’re capable of doing all of those things and if we want to win, we’ll have to do all of those things.’’
Guard Delonte West said seeing the film provided some of the players with a visual aid.
“We studied and studied for the test and on test day we had a brain freeze,’’ West said. “But the good thing is, it’s not one test. You get another chance at it. So we’ll study again [yesterday] and hopefully do better on the test [tonight].’’
Shaq sighting Shaquille O’Neal stepped onto the practice court at the University of Miami in uniform. But it remains to be seen if he will be available tonight in Game 2.
O’Neal worked with the trainers before practice to get loose. He declined to comment before joining teammates on the court, but Rivers said the veteran center is slowly getting into game shape.
O’Neal has not played since hurting a calf muscle against Detroit April 3. He played just 5:29 in that game, his first after missing more than 20 because of an injured Achilles’.
Rivers said he suspects O’Neal has been running “very little’’ but overall O’Neal is “feeling a lot better.’’
Is there a chance he’ll play? “We’ll see,’’ Rivers said.
Giving it a shot With Rajon Rondo on the bench early in Game 1 with three fouls, West played 26 minutes.
He took nine shots, making three, and had 10 points. He had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 turnover.
It was the most attempts for West in the postseason, and he said he thought he could give the team a jolt.
“If you get on a roll, that’s for any player, you’ve got to keep it rolling,’’ West said. “But on a team like this, there’s a magic number out there. You get into double-figure shots and you’re missing way more than you’re making, it’s time to do something different because we have so many options and so much talent on this team.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at email@example.com.