Postgame: Celtics let guard down
January, 17, 2013
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers often writes little notes to himself immediately after games or practices, just initial impressions that could be useful reminders down the road.
Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesCeltics captain Paul Pierce admitted it was an "inconsistent night" for Boston.
With his team's confidence maybe overflowing a bit too much amidst a season-high six-game winning streak, Rivers wrote, 'Guard down,' after Tuesday's practice session. With that in mind, he blamed himself after his team did just that during Wednesday's 90-78 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
“We didn’t play well -- just let our guard down, I thought, a little bit," said Rivers. "I felt it [Tuesday] and didn’t do anything about it so I’m kicking myself more than them. I always write stuff down, after practices and my first note – ‘guard down, guard down’ – I think I wrote it three different times and I thought we came out and played like that."
If the Celtics were overconfident going against a New Orleans team with a less-than-glitzy record, they didn't show it over the first eight minutes of Wednesday's game, building as much as an 11-point lead in the first quarter. Then, well, Boston let its guard down.
"There were a lot of inconsistencies, especially after the first eight minutes," said captain Paul Pierce. "We got out to a good lead and then we just broke down too many times. We'd gather momentum, then lose it, then break down, defensively. It was just an inconsistent night on both ends of the court. We missed a lot of wide-open shots, we didn't rebound, and when you've got a team that's young and plays hard and is vastly improving, it gives them confidence once they get back in the game and that's what you saw tonight."
The Celtics tried to brush off the loss with Rajon Rondo noting, "We were going to lose sooner or later. The good thing about it is we come back home again [on Friday versus the Bulls] and, as of late, we've been playing pretty well at home. We'll just try to go from there."
Added Rondo: "We look forward, we don't look back." The mantra in the Boston locker room: Start another streak on Friday.
Read on for a few more postgame notes, including Kevin Garnett's high praise for rookie Anthony Davis and Rivers waiting too long to call on Bullpen Barbosa:
* HIGH PRAISE FOR 'FREAK' DAVIS: Celtics center Kevin Garnett doesn't gush about many young players, but he offered lofty praise for New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis, who registered 10 points (on 4-of-5 shooting) and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes on Wednesday. "Anthony Davis -- I haven't seen enough of him and that kid is long. I think he makes me like a midget, man. I think his arms -- nah, I was nothing like him. He's a freak of nature. The kid's going to be really good. The kid's going to be really good."
* NOT QUICK ENOUGH TO THE BULLPEN: Rivers lamented not going to the bullpen to fetch backup guard Leandro Barbosa earlier in the game. Barbosa came off the pine late in the fourth quarter to kick in seven points on 3-of-4 shooting over 2:41. "I thought I should have played LB earlier when we were struggling for energy; he’s an energy guy. It's easy now, obviously, but that’s what I’ll probably watch when I watch the film. I’ll see that."
* FENCED IN: Asked for his thoughts after New Orleans finished with a 48-32 edge on points in the paint, Rivers noted, "Well, they scored in the paint and we refused to go in the paint. We had an electric fence around the paint tonight; we just settled, I thought. That’s how you play when -- I don’t know what the new word is, ‘bring it’ or whatever you young people say. Whatever that is, we didn’t have. And we settled. We took the easy shots, we didn’t cut, we didn’t space, we didn’t run offensively. I thought we played six great minutes at the beginning of the game; played with a lot of energy and then it just dissipated.”