Matthew Lee / Globe Staff
The Celtics took yesterday to do some self-evaluating and in the process, Doc Rivers told his team what he told the media the day before: There's nothing he can do.
"It ain't the system," he said." It's our heads. It's between the ears. And we've got to come out and play. Everyone wants to beat you, you can bank on that."
After falling 104-96 to the Nets, the only direction the Celtics could point their fingers was at themselves for letting the Nets get to the line 41 times and failing to respond when the New Jersey stretched their lead from 2 points at the end of the first quarter to 10 by the second to 18 in the fourth quarter before finally responding, albeit too late.
"Doc gives us direction, guys have to go out there and follow the plan and execute, that's all it is," Kevin Garnett said. "I'm not going to sit up here and give a bunch of excuses, that's not my style. You lose you lose. They kicked our (expletive) tonight, period point blank. Players have to do more, including myself, we all have to dig deep and see what we're made of as a team."
Rasheed Wallace added, "We can't sit up here and say, 'Oh, it's Doc's fault that we lost.' Or 'Doc's not doing this.' Or Doc's not doing that.' Doc's not on the floor. It's the five guys that's out there. So we have to come up with ways to win."
Rivers called the Celtics' problems a "mindset," saying that they relaxed and that this time -- like many others -- the basketball gods wouldn't let them get away with it.
Ray Allen agreed that the answers have to come from within.
"This is it, there’s no cavalry coming," Rivers said. "We have to circle our wagons and make sure we believe in what’s going on out there, trust it and execute ... The one thing I can say that’s encouraging is that we’re all trying to figure this thing out."