NEW YORK -- More than 72 hours will have passed between the conclusion of Saturday's Game 1 and tipoff for Tuesday's Game 2 of an Eastern Conference first-round series between the Celtics and Knicks. Boston has spent much of that extended downtime focusing on all the self-inflicted mistakes that allowed New York to take an early series lead.
While the Celtics are not a team to reject extended rest, it's clear that players are eager to get back on the floor and clean up those miscues in the hopes of tying this series before it shifts back to Boston.
"We can’t turn the ball over, we gotta stay in transition, we have to space the floor, but bottom line is, offensively, we have to play better, obviously," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of his team's keys in Game 2. "I’m sure [the Knicks] are thinking the same way. A lot of our [errors] were self-inflicted, so we have to do a better job there."
The Celtics watched film Sunday and hit the practice floor on Monday. There's only so much players can do to ensure the same mistakes won't happen again.
"I don’t know how you work on turnovers," admitted Rivers, whose team gave the ball away 21 times during Saturday's loss. "We really just got back into doing what we do. We worked on execution a lot [Monday], and that’s something we’ve been doing for the last six weeks, really."
A few more notes and quotes from shootaround at Madison Square Garden:
• MUST-WIN GAME?: In every series, the team that loses the first game is swarmed with questions about the importance of Game 2 and avoiding a 2-0 hole. Is Tuesday a must-win game for the Celtics? "Every game is a must-win game," said Jeff Green. "It's the playoffs. That's the only way you move on is to win, so you go into every game thinking it's a must-win." After the Bulls, who are sharing the same New York hotel with Boston this week, evened their series with the host Nets on Monday night, Avery Bradley noted, "I feel like anybody would say it'll always be good to steal one of their home games away from them, just like Chicago last night. I'm pretty sure they were happy with that win, because it's always tougher playing away. So [the Knicks] probably feel like it's a must-win game because when they go to Boston it's going to be a little tougher."
• MSG MEMORIES: Rivers knows all too well that a 2-0 hole is not insurmountable. During the 1992-93 season, Rivers was part of a Knicks team that won 60 regular-season games; in the playoffs, the Knicks had a 2-0 series lead on the underdog Bulls. Chicago rallied to win the next four games, including a tight Game 5 in New York. Those aren't some of Rivers' fonder memories, but a friendly reminder of what's possible when a top seed holds serve at home.
• MORE BIG TALK: After leaning on a three-guard bench in Game 1, Rivers has hinted he'll add a big to the rotation on Tuesday. But he stressed that the game will dictate whether he sticks with that plan. Rivers had previously noted that he might go big only in the first half with the goal of simply driving down starter minutes to keep them fresh in the second half (Boston scored only eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 1). "It's really a game decision," said Rivers. "It’s easy to state it now; I don’t know what that does. So we'll kind of wait for the game to start, see how guys on our team are playing, and how their lineups are, and go from there."