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Streaks don't matter in June

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics captain Paul Pierce is aware of Boston's 10-game winning streak, but said Tuesday that it doesn't mean much to him and his teammates in the bigger picture of the 2010-11 season.

"At the end of the day, we all say it's about us getting better, regardless if we win or lose," said Pierce. "We've had some inconsistencies during the winning streak that we're trying to clean up and get better with. At the end of the day, we're playing for a championship, not a certain opponent.

"We know we've won 10 games, we see it on SportsCenter, or hear it from guys. It's all good, but it's not anything we haven't done before. We've been on a 10-game winning streak. We have bigger goals than this winning streak."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is often quick to point to the fact that Boston essentially sacrificed a glossy win-loss record last season, stumbling through a 27-27 stretch over its final 54 games, in order to preserve health and be in the best possible position to win when the playoffs started. Boston didn't need a 10-game winning streak then, and is fine with losses now so long as they learn from them.

The Celtics don't look at how the wins stack up, just the fact that they're moving in the right direction.

"We don't get focused on the sub-chapters of a season," surmised Shaquille O'Neal.

The Celtics do know there's room for improvement despite the recent wins.

"We're doing alright and obviously we're winning games," said Rivers. "I don't necessarily think we're playing great, to be honest, the last couple games at least. Defensively, the Charlotte game, we were really good, but when you have so many different guys [injured], it'd almost be easier if it was always one guy. You lose practice time and I can see the slippage in us and the way we're playing. So at some point, either we start fixing it with our guys, or it's going to come back and bite us a little bit.

"I'm not complaining about the win-loss part of it and I'm not complaining about the effort. We just gotta keep working."

Rivers noted the difficult balance then, between resting bodies and squeezing in practices to address that slippage. After originally planning to practice Monday, he gave his players a second day off to recover, noticing a lack of energy level at times during Saturday's thrashing of Charlotte.

"It’s a tough balance," said Rivers. "There are certain guys who are never injured, who never complain about being tired, or never are tired. But then when you see them giving in sometimes on certain plays, more defensively when you can see it, then you know you're team is dying. Then that's usually what I go by [in deciding rest]."