Tuesday’s Celtics-Knicks watch: Mental focus the key

WALTHAM — Down 3-1 in the series with an elimination game against the Knicks looming Wednesday night, mental focus was the key topic before the Celtics took the practice court Tuesday.

“What’s the difference between being down 0-3 and being in a Game 7?” Celtics coach Doc Rivers asked. “There’s no difference. It’s an elimination game. In Game 7 you’re thinking let’s win it to win it. When you’re down 0-3, you never know, you may have a couple guys making vacation plans not thinking you can do it. So it’s all about the mindset.”


Celtics players talked as if the series was still within their grasp.

“We’re still confident, we’re still riding high from last game,” said Jeff Green. “So hopefully we can take that into the game tomorrow and continue to play the way we did.”

Said Celtics guard Jason Terry, “I don’t want to go home right now. I feel like we’ve got a lot of basketball left with this particular group.”

Terry has reason to feel good after scoring nine points in overtime of Game 4. The Celtics, on the other hand, have some reasons to be worried about their chances in Game 5. Carmelo Anthony was 10 of 35 from the field in Game 4, sharpshooter J.R. Smith sat out due to suspension, and the Knicks still took the game to overtime. Rivers said his team needed to get into attack mode early, limit offensive rebounds, and also do better against New York’s trapping defense.

“I just wish we did a better job of taking advantage of it when they do trap,” said Rivers. “That’s where I would say I am the most disappointed with us offensively. We work on it every day, and we really haven’t taken advantage of their traps. … All year we’ve done a great job of really attacking traps to the point where teams stopped trapping us. Honestly [this series] I don’t think we’ve made the right decisions.”


Today’s schedule: The Celtics practiced Tuesday morning in Waltham before flying to New York. The Knicks practiced in Westchester.

Stat of the day: Not about the Celtics or Knicks, but staggering nonetheless:

Useful Twitter follow: Celtics Blog, one of the best team blogs around.

Quote of the day: Jeff Green, on going back to New York:

“It’s going to be very difficult with their fans behind them, but we can’t think about that too much,” said Green. “They don’t impact the game, we do.”

View from behind enemy lines: From the New York Times: Knicks hit a bump on their road to the next round.

Series news: Knicks guard Jason Kidd won the NBA’s sportsmanship award for the second straight season. One tidbit on that note: Before the series started, Kidd ran over to Celtics GM Danny Ainge and owner Wyc Grousbeck to shake their hands and wish them luck.

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