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Shaquille O'Neal's physicality around the basket is missed by Boston right now.PHILADELPHIA -- Much was made about the Celtics' toughness and physicality after the trade that shipped sharp-elbowed center Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City at the trade deadline. This new-look Boston team is decidedly more finesse and athletic now -- something the team believes will help it against certain opponents -- but it's also clear the Celtics lack an enforcer right now (a role that Shaquille O'Neal can certainly hold down once healthy).
Even without key members of their frontcourt -- like O'Neal and Glen Davis -- the Celtics have more than held their own on the glass in recent games. Even in back-to-back losses to the Clippers and 76ers, Boston and its opponents finished with matching totals for combined rebounds.
But the Celtics allowed Philadelphia to be the more physical team Friday and that didn't sit well with coach Doc Rivers.
"Give [the 76ers] credit, I thought the game was called very physical -- [the officials] allowed you to be physical and I didn't think we handled that very well," said Rivers. "I didn't think we played through contact well at all tonight. But you think about how many plays we had at the basket where they stripped us, took the ball from us. Usually if you can hold on to that, that's at least a foul, but we didn't hold onto the ball. I just thought they were the more physical team. We knew they were the more athletic team before the game, but they can't be the more physical team as well."