After a heartbreaking loss in Game 2 in Miami, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said difficult losses stick with him for about a day before he can move on.
“You don’t throw it away,” Rivers said. “You hold onto it for 24 hours, and then you move on. We’ve been really good at that. We have no choice in the matter.”
That reflection period expired around midnight, which means the Celtics got to sleep on their strategy for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals for at least a few hours. Overall, the Celtics need to do more of the same. They need the aggressive Rajon Rondo who torched the Heat for 44 points, even if he doesn’t come close to that point total. The big number for Rondo was 12 free throws, which means he was being aggressive.
Rivers thought the rest of his team was being aggressive, too, but Miami took 47 foul shots Wednesday compared to 29 for the Celtics.
“I think Paul Pierce attacked just as much as LeBron James attacked,” Rivers said Thursday, “So I’ll leave it at that. We’ll get past that distraction.”
They better get past it quickly. The Celtics are hoping a change of scenery does them good tonight in Game 3. The Celtics are 6-1 at home in the postseason, their sole loss at TD Garden coming in Game 2 of the Philadelphia series.
Here are the details for tonight’s game:
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m.
Series: Heat lead, 2-0
Broadcast info: ESPN, WEEI/850 AM/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Shane Battier
C: Ronny Turiaf
Minutes: Rajon Rondo played an incredible 53 minutes in Game 2, but Kevin Garnett played 45 minutes himself. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen both played 43 minutes. Two things need to change: Garnett needs to play fewer minutes in the first three quarters, and Pierce needs to stay in the game. He cannot foul out in Game 3. He just can’t.
Consistent defense: The Celtics held Miami to just 18 points each in the first and fourth quarters, but Miami’s 35-point explosion in the third quarter put the Celtics behind late. The Heat made 10 of their first 14 shots in that quarter, a streak the Celtics can’t let happen again.
Bench scoring: Boston got just seven points from the bench in Game 2, a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be going away. It’s going to come down to the Big Four for the Celtics, but they need someone else to step up and score as well. Even if it’s starter Brandon Bass, who had eight points Wednesday, the Celtics need someone else to contribute.