A look at what the opposition was saying after the Boston Celtics' 86-77 triumph over the Orlando Magic Friday in a holiday matinee:
Dwight Howard: "Instead of attacking, we shot a lot of jump shots and we can’t do that and be successful. When we are hitting (shots), that’s fine. But we have to have a balanced inside-out [attack] and also attack the rim. That is something we have to work on.... We played hard. There is no question about it. You can look at the stats on the defense end and it shows we played hard. There were a couple of areas where we didn’t come up with the loose balls, but for the most part we did play hard. It’s been like that for the last four games. I think offensively is where we’ve had some struggles, but all of that will come with time."
Vince Carter: "[The Celtics defense has] a lot of athleticism, they move well, and they take up a lot of the paint, so they make it tough. They do a great job and believe in each other on the defensive end. That is always a mark of a good team when you never have to look over your shoulder and I think they do a great job of that ... We didn’t make a lot of shots, we had turnovers, and -- at the same time -- the Celtics did a great defensive job, which made it tough. They put us in a hole and we were able to fight back, but we couldn’t win it in the end."
Jameer Nelson: "We just couldn’t get it going offensively, for whatever reason. They are a great defensive team and they took us out of a lot of things, but we kind of let them. It wasn’t like they were doing something that we didn’t see before... Our game plan was to make them play defense for a couple more seconds than they did. We only made them play defense for one pass. Most of those shots were good looks, but that just wasn’t our game plan."
Coach Stan Van Gundy: "The second quarter was real bad -- a real frustrating evening. Again, I thought that our guys competed hard. Down the stretch, a couple of times, we made big mistakes that stood out to me because they were so crucial. But, in general, our defense was pretty good -- we just couldn’t get good shots. We did a better job in the second half. I thought we played more of the way we wanted to play in terms of moving the ball a little better and finding open people.
"The first half we just continued to force and force and force -- it was frustrating. We just would not make the adjustment. You’ll notice, they scored 12 more points in the paint on the exact same number of shots in the paint. We were going in and trying to challenge, but they were blocking shots, or we were throwing up airballs. We just would not draw help and make the pass to the open people. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half. I thought Vince [Carter] played really well in the second half and I thought we created some shots for Rashard [Lewis], drawing help so I thought there were some better things.
"But we’ve had a constant, pretty consistent problem with our offense against them and that is that we just do not sustain good offensive play throughout the game. Now, they’re a great defensive team, but there are ways we can get good shots -- we know it, but we just won’t play that way for long enough stretches. A frustrating day, very frustrating [with] 18 turnovers. Yeah, they had 21 -- not exactly a pretty NBA basketball game. I thought we battled hard, we had our chances when we got back in the game. But when you dig yourself that big of a hole, you’ve got to be perfect at both ends and we just weren’t."