Working for the weekend

AP Photo/Mike Carlson

Doc Rivers: "Nice work guys, get some sleep."The most difficult part of this condensed NBA season? Finding time for shuteye.

The Celtics played a national TV game Thursday night in Orlando, rallying from a 27-point deficit to topple the Magic. The game ended just before 11 p.m., which meant the team didn't get to the airport and on the plane back until after midnight (a necessity with the tail end of a back-to-back looming Friday night against Indiana).

Coach Doc Rivers said his staff huddled on the plane to watch game film from the team's last two meetings with the Pacers, then most coaches stayed up once the team landed in order to simply prep the game plan (while players, finally crashing after an emotional win, staggered home to get limited sleep).

The Celtics had every reason to produce a letdown Friday night, but responded with uncharacteristic energy in the back-to-back situation (especially playing without three starters) and produced a solid win over an Eastern Conference playoff team.

“It’s a huge win, especially with the back-to-back," said captain Paul Pierce. "Most of us got in at 3-4 o’clock this morning. We didn’t have a normal shootaround to go over the game plan, so we kind of just watched film in here. So it was one of those games that, mentally, you're drained. It was a big win, an emotional win [Thursday] night [against Orlando]. I’m proud with the way we stepped up tonight and really got the job done. The win [Thursday] night probably wouldn’t of mean as much if we didn’t get today.”

Even Rivers knew Friday had trap written all over it.

“Oh, it was a trap game -- make no mistake about it," he said. "We got in at 3:30, 3:15 [a.m.] You know, it’s funny I asked all the guys -- they basically said they went straight to bed. Because none of the coaches did. But I thought we had unbelievable energy."

The Celtics won't practice Saturday and the team will reconvene Sunday at TD Garden to walkthrough before a visit from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reward in that?

Said Rivers: "It gives them two mornings in a row to sleep."