AP Photo/Alex Brandon
The Celtics hit the road now looking for a win in Philadelphia.BOSTON -- With only a single offday before Wednesday's Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Boston Celtics did not plan to practice Tuesday afternoon and will simply watch film before catching an afternoon flight to Philadelphia.
Some late-game miscues in Tuesday's Game 2 loss to the 76ers prevented Boston from packing a series lead and coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that, by splitting the two games in Boston, the 76ers will be gushing with confidence as the series shifts to Wells Fargo Arena.
But the Celtics gave them that confidence even before the fourth quarter of Game 2.
“I think we lifted their confidence [in Game 1]," said Rivers. "I really do. I mean, we played a home game in Game 1 where we stole the game. And, so, if you’re the other team, you have to have a little confidence coming in. That’s what I was happy with at the start of Game 2 [Monday], and then we let that go.”
Boston scored nine quick points Monday, but went cold from the field in the middle quarters. Much like in Game 1, the Celtics made a feverish late charge to erase a double-digit deficit, but this time the 76ers didn't wilt.
"Our young guys just keep growing and they’re really becoming men," said Philadelphia coach Doug Collins. "I’m so proud of them. Doc Rivers, arguably the best coach in the NBA, and for our guys to just scrap through a game [Monday] -- we just found a way. Again, I have to tell you, all season long we couldn’t win these games and now our guys are believing they can do it, and it is pretty special to watch.”
Echoed Sixers big man Lavoy Allen: "We think two nights ago we definitely gave one away -- (there were) a lot of things down the stretch that we didn’t do. This game was just taken on momentum. Going back home, we just have to continue to compete against these guys and play them tough.”
The Celtics were perceived to have two big edges over the 76ers entering this series: Playoff experience and home-court advantage. They squandered both with Monday's loss. Now the pressure is on Boston to go steal a win in a building it was 0-2 in during the regular season, losing those games by an average of 22½ points per contest.
“I don’t really worry about where we play," said Celtics guard Ray Allen. "It’s just about how we play and when we play them. We will look at film [Tuesday] and we will see everything we didn’t do well offensively. I think our defense wasn’t too bad... Offensively, I don’t think we shared the ball enough well enough to win. There was a stretch were we didn’t score and it created a bad rhythm there in the third quarter where we weren’t making shots. Being in there building down there really isn’t going to affect us. It’s all about how we play them when we get out there, how we take care and work together better than what we did [Monday].”
Added Paul Pierce: "We just got to take it one game at a time. They’re gonna be tough in their home building. They really put a number on us in the regular season in their building, but it’s the playoffs. So we're going to look at the tapes, see some things we can clean up and be a better team when we get to Philly.”
Rajon Rondo said the Celtics won't be discouraged by a bump in the road.
“That’s the playoffs," he said. "It’s up and down. You’re not going to win 16 straight games, so give [the 76ers] credit. They are not a pushover team. Like I’ve said this is a tough series.”
And it's about to get tougher.