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Celtics notebook

After poor effort, a big adjustment is needed by guards

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / January 8, 2012
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The offensive rebounding numbers were not in the Celtics’ favor in an 87-74 loss to the Pacers Friday night. The putbacks and second-chance opportunities not only were reflected on the scoreboard, they also demoralized the Celtics.

Coach Doc Rivers talked about the Celtics becoming frustrated by the Pacers’ penetration. Inside players were forced to provide help on guards, allowing a Pacer room to follow up.

“It was not the bigs,’’ Rivers said of the rebounding problems. “It was the guards.’’

Both Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo struggled to contain dribble drives. The Pacers finished with a 47-36 rebounding edge, 14-7 on the offensive end.“It’s not only on the bigs, all five of us are out there,’’ Rondo said. “The bigs were stepping up, and when [the Pacers] shot the ball, the bigs lost their body.

“Give [the Pacers] credit. No excuses. We just played a little bad and it showed.’’

The plan now is for productive practice sessions in preparation for Wednesday’s game against Dallas.

“We’re not as tired as it may seem,’’ Rondo said. “The schedule has been pretty good except for the first three games. Other than that, we’ve played every other day. Guys do a good job taking care of their bodies, and we just have to do better executing, offensively and defensively.’’

The Celtics were out of synchronization offensively, tying a team record for fewest points in a half in falling behind, 33-25.

“We just didn’t have it,’’ Rondo said. “We came with the right mind-set. When our offense wasn’t falling, it carried over a little bit defensively. We got it going in the third quarter, but we but just didn’t get any stops.’’

Rivers was surprised by the Celtics’ stagnant performance.

“As a coach, it drives you crazy,’’ Rivers said. “We had a phenomenal practice [Thursday] - not a good one, off the charts. Shootaround was focused - and then this happens.

“I think it was [the Pacers’] effort. I thought their intensity - I just thought they were into us. They were in our air space, you know? We always talk about owning the air space of ours, and then owning the opponents’ air space. That’s who we are. And they were us, for the entire game.’’

Missing ingredient

Paul Pierce was 3 for 17 from the field Friday.

“We can’t lose on the 50-50 possessions, where the ball goes up, or there are loose balls,’’ Pierce said. “We have to be the team to be able to get those each and every night, especially at home, where we have the energy of the crowd. So, there’s no excuse for that.

“You can miss shots, or it could be a bad night shooting, but there’s no excuse for effort.’’

Work to do

Kevin Garnett on the Celtics’ practice sessions, scheduled for tomorrow and Tuesday: “Essential. You don’t have a lot of time. Practice time is more valuable than anything. So, when you’re in there, you want to be productive, you actually want to get things done.

“Since I’ve been here, that’s what it’s been, so I see these days coming up as nothing less than that.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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