WALTHAM, Mass. -- A collection of news and notes after the Boston Celtics practiced Wednesday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint in advance of Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cleveland Cavaliers:
The rundown (a quick look at practice headlines)
Game 6 is Game 7 as Celtics look to close out in Boston
WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the Boston Celtics were on the verge of closing out the Miami Heat, boasting a 3-1edge as the quarterfinal series shifted back to Boston earlier this month, captain Paul Pierce joked that the only time he wanted to return to South Beach was when he was on vacation.
With all due respect to Cleveland, the Celtics have seen quite enough of The Forest City this season and would just assume not return -- for business or pleasure -- until next October at the earliest.
And with Boston holding a 3-2 edge as its Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Cavaliers shifts back to the Hub, both players and coaches stressed it's in the Green's best interest to never see the cramped confines of the visitor's locker room inside Quicken Loans Arena again this season.
"If we lose [Game 6] at home, we've got to go back to Cleveland, and even though we know we can win there, at the same time, that's their house, that's their environment," Celtics forward Glen Davis said at Wednesday's practice. "It's just a tough situation. Sure, it's hard to win three games in a row, but at the same time, the Suns did it. They pulled it out. The Lakers did it. Orlando did it. We've got to win this game."
Echoed center Kendrick Perkins: "It's Game 7 coming up. We don't want to go back to Cleveland. We've got to come out with the right focus, the right mindset. And play our game."
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett shared a similar opinion in his postgame comments Tuesday night, indicating there was an overwhelming sense of urgency for the Celtics in Game 6.
"Anybody who gives two cents about this game and is very, very competitive, anything like me, then they're going to go home and watch this tape, probably not eat, probably not sleep much, and be ready for Game 6," Garnett said. "So we have to be ready for that. We can't put the onus on a Game 7 back here in this building [in Cleveland]."
Boston knows it has Cleveland on the ropes after Tuesday's 32-point thrashing in Game 5. The Celtics wouldn't mind if the circus surrounding LeBron James' struggles (he scored 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting) and his potential future employer (he's a free agent at season's end) continued to cloud him for one more day, but they're not expecting it.
"We haven't [won anything yet]," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Listen guys, we've got one home game left in this series. We haven't done anything and we've made that clear. You know we're going to get Cleveland's best shot. You know LeBron is going to play an amazing game. And we're going to have to absorb that and still win the game."
Rivers said the key for his team is to avoid focusing on how close it is to advancing to the next round or becoming complacent with the luxury of home court in Game 6.
Heck, Rivers isn't even using last year's 3-2 collapse against the Orlando Magic -- the only one of 33 best-of-seven series the Celtics have failed to win when leading after five games -- as motivation.
"I think [the media] will [point that out], I don't think I have to," said Rivers. "It doesn't matter, this is not Orlando. This is Cleveland. And we don't have home-court [advantage] as far as the whole series goes," which they did last year against the Magic.
"The bottom line is all that stuff doesn't matter -- it really doesn't. At end of the day, you come out and focus on the process of playing basketball. You can't focus on anything that's happened before, or anything that happens after. I don't even like hearing guys talk about closing out. That doesn't do anything. You've got to play the game, focus on the game of basketball. It's the only way to win this game."
For more on the Celtics' sense of urgency in Game 6, hop HERE.
One key to Celtics' success: Limiting Varejao's impact
After terrorizing Boston during the regular season, Anderson Varejao is averaging 6.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in the postseason, including just 1.8 offensive rebounds per game.
Sure, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but considering Varejao averaged 13.3 points and 9 rebounds, including 4.3 offensive rebounds, in three games against Boston this season, it's clear Boston is doing something extra to limit a player Rivers singled out before the series as potentially the most valuable player for the Cavaliers beyond James.
"In the regular-season games, we didn't pay much attention to him," said Glen Davis. "That's why it was kind of shaky. Then we were like, 'Wow, what's he doing?' We were not really focused on him when he hurt us that first game. Then he hurt us that second game. The ball kept going his way. Now we've got a plan for the guy, a scouting report. Our mentality is, when he's on the floor, we try to put two bodies on him. We find his body at all times. It's on our minds, like LeBron."
Rivers said the key is matching his intensity.
"You've got to play hard, every second he's on the floor," said Rivers. "But he's tough. There's no scouting report. The one thing is, the guy plays with an amazing amount of energy. He's always around the ball and that means, if you're in the game and matched up on him, you have to match that. And thus far, I think our bigs have done a good job matching up to his energy."
Loose balls: Shaq & Perk throw 'bows; C's play Sunday regardless
* Kendrick Perkins and Shaquille O'Neal earned double technicals after Boston's big man took an elbow in the neck in the defensive end during Tuesday's triumph.
"Got caught up in the moment," said Perkins. "He threw elbows and hit my neck. I just told him to watch his elbows. If you let a guy keep throwing elbows and don't tell him nothing, sooner or later he's going to get too comfortable and he's going to keep doing it. At some point, as a man, you've got to stand up."
Perkins needed stitches in his upper lip after O'Neal cut him open on a foul Perkins committed earlier this series. The Perk-Shaq confrontation was hardly the first dust-up of the series and wasn't the only one of the game. Later Rajon Rondo and Mo Williams received double technicals for yapping in the second half.
* Regardless of Thursday's outcome, the Celtics' next game will be on Sunday. If Boston prevails in Game 6 against Cleveland, the Celtics would travel to Orlando for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Magic. If the Cavaliers tie the series with a triumph, the Celtics will travel back to Cleveland for a deciding Game 7. Both games are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC.