NEW YORK – The Celtics didn’t practice Sunday, choosing instead to watch film of what went wrong in Saturday’s Game 1 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The consensus among players and Celtics coach Doc Rivers is that the problem is team-related, and that it’s correctable.
“It’s about our offensive concept,” said forward Paul Pierce. “That’s what we preach every day. Ball movement, make the extra pass. It doesn’t matter who we put out there on the court or how long they’ve been here. That’s our system. When we play that way we’re successful.”
The Celtics didn’t trust each other in Game 1, forcing passes to Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jeff Green that simply weren’t there instead of making the easy play. Pierce put the blame on himself and also on Green, and those two combined for 12 turnovers. Pierce also acknowledged that he needs help.
“When we look at the box score we should have five, six, seven guys in double-figures,” said Pierce.
The Celtics’ bench combined for just four points in Game 1, so there’s obviously an issue there. But Garnett is a player the Celtics would like to involve much more. There are no restrictions on Garnett’s minutes for the playoffs. The big man will play for as long as he can go. He made 4 of 12 shots for 8 points in Game 1.
“We’ve got to get Kevin more involved,” Rivers said Sunday. “There’s lots of ways to do that.”
Better passes are a start. Garnett also said it would take some time to adjust to playing more minutes, and that it would be “an adjustment period for everybody.” The Celtics don’t have much time to get it right.
The Celtics and Chicago Bulls are staying at the same Manhattan hotel. Rivers called it “a very dark place” Saturday night after both teams lost. The Celtics get a chance to redeem themselves Tuesday night.