Rivers: Celtics' veteran experience is deceiving

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Rivers: Celtics' veteran experience is deceiving

CHICAGO With a slew of veterans with varying levels of experience, the Boston Celtics have the appearance of a veteran team.

But as Celtics coach Doc Rivers points out, there's more to having a veteran team than simply throwing together a bunch of guys who have been around the NBA block a few times.

"Where I think people get mixed up, there's a difference between a veteran team and a lot of veterans on a team," Rivers said. "This is not a veteran team. This team hasn't been together."

That is quite apparent in their up-and-down play that has them at just 12-11 heading into Wednesday's game against a red-hot Chicago Bulls team that comes into tonight's game at Memphis having won five of their last six games.

With so many new faces, Rivers was optimistic that they would develop a good rhythm about their play quickly.

But more than a quarter of the way through this season, it's clear that has not happened yet.

Rivers pointed to fatigue as a potential factor in the team's play following Saturday's loss at San Antonio.

While players did indeed look a step or two slow most of the game, Rivers is more concerned with the Celtics being worn down mentally rather than physically being tired.

The team watched video from the loss at San Antonio prior to practice on Monday, with Rivers acknowledging that many of the miscues they made in the Spurs loss had more to do with them simply not being as strong as they need to be mentally.

That was at the heart of why they could get close to the Spurs but consistently failed to get over the hump either with a score, a rebound or a defensive stop, that was needed.

When teams are out of shape physically, having them run more usually does the trick.

But mental fatigue? That's a tricky one, for sure.

"You work on habits, you have to improve your habits," Rivers said. "We see it on film. We'll do it. And then we never sustain it."

Said Brandon Bass: "We know what we need to do. We just need to keep on doing it for longer stretches, that's all."

The Dallas Mavericks are in some ways like the Celtics in terms of adding a lot of new faces to their roster this season.

And like Boston, they too have not had the kind of early-season success they are used to.

The injury to Dirk Nowitzki has certainly been a factor in them not getting off to the best of starts. But coach Rick Carlisle would be remiss if he didn't acknowledge that having a lot of new faces -- even if they have prior NBA experience -- only adds to the learning curve needed in order to be a team that plays consistently.

"It just takes time," Carlisle told CSNNE.com. "I know fans don't like to hear that, but it's true. Obviously every team is different. But the better teams out there will figure it out sooner or later. And Boston is one of those teams."

Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels ofAnaheim

Quotes:

"I tried to get two (outs) before I got one. That can't happen." - Hanley Ramirez on his throwing error which cost the Red Sox the game.

"Executing pitches - that's the name of the game." - David Price on improvement he showed from his last start.

"Fourth time through the order, middle of the lineup. . . Price had done his job. In a one-run game, we felt it was best to start a clean inning with a reliever." - John Farrell after lifting David Price after eight innings and 108 pitches.

Notes:

* Reliever Brad Ziegler was charged with the loss for the second straight game.

* Each of the last seven Red Sox losses has been by one or two runs.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 31 consecutive games.

* The Red Sox four-game losing streak is their longest of the season.

* The Sox are now 9-23 in their last 32 meetings with the Angels.

* David Price did not allow a run for the second time this season.

Stars:

1) David Price

After a stretch of shaky outings, Price did his job with eight scoreless innings, getting 14 outs on groundouts while walking just one.

2) Jered Weaver

At times, the radar gun made Weaver's pitches look like softball offerings. But mixing junk, he held the Sox to a single run over 5 1/3 innings

3) Mookie Betts

He had just one hit - single in the eighth - but his sacrifice fly in the third produced the only run of the night.

First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

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First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

First impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1) David Price pitched in the truest sense

Price wasn't necessarily overpowering with only six strikeouts in eight innings, but he succeeded in keeping the ball down in the zone, resulting in a ton of groundouts.

In eight innings, the Angels produced just two flouts to the outfield, both of them routine.

Otherwise, Price deftly mixed his changeup, slider and two-seamer to produce ground balls. His location was more precise and he induced weak contact in at-bat after at-bat.

 

2) The danger of a closer like Brad Ziegler was on display

The throwing error by Hanley Ramirez resulted in two runs scoring but Ziegler allowed three base hits to set the stage.

Ziegler doesn't get a lot of swing-and-miss with his sinker; what he gets is a lot of balls put in play. When things are going well, that results in groundouts; when they're not, it means baserunners and strange things happening.

As inconsistent as Craig Kimbrel has been in some non-save situations, he at least has the ability to record strikeouts and keep balls out of play.  That's not the case with Zieger, as the Red Sox learned the hard way in Anaheim Thursday night.

3) The Red Sox wisely took advantage of Jered Weaver on the bases

Weaver's high leg kick and reliance on off-speed pitches make for a slow delivery time to the plate. Dustin Pedroia would have easily stole second in the first but made the mistake of going into his slide too far ahead of the bag, and though initially ruled safe, was deemed out after a replay challenge.

In the sixth, Xander Bogaerts, was more successful in his stolen base. Neither steal led to a run, but the Sox did put some additional pressure on Weaver