Blakely: Celtics can't rebound against Bulls

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Blakely: Celtics can't rebound against Bulls

CHICAGO Thursday's 89-80 loss to Chicago was the Boston Celtics' fourth defeat in their last five games.

And with a rugged road schedule ahead, the C's are literally and figuratively trying to rebound right now.

For all that went wrong for the Celtics in the Chicago loss, rebounding was clearly the place in which the game was won and lost.

For Boston (15-14), it validated what, statistically speaking, we've known throughout this season about the Celtics.

The Celtics are a bad rebounding team, evident by them ranking No. 29 (out of 30 teams) in rebounds per game compared to a Chicago team that was ranked No. 2.

Chicago's board dominance was especially noticeable in the second quarter, a quarter in which the C's were outrebounded 19-3.

No. Seriously. They were outrebounded 19-3 in one (the second) quarter.

"The reason they stopped us, was because they controlled the glass," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "It kept us from getting out and running."

And it didn't help that the Bulls consistently work the shot clock until it nearly expires.

"Chicago was using 23 seconds it seemed for every possession," Rivers said. "We knew coming in, it would not be an up-pace game."

Still, the C's needed to have controlled the game's tempo beyond just the first quarter.

"We didn't get the rebounds. That's the key," said Paul Pierce. "In order to get out and run, and get in transition, you gotta get the stops and you gotta get the rebound. We weren't able to do that most of the night."

And that lack of rebounding can snowball into something much worse, like the 12-0 run that Chicago put on the Celtics in the fourth quarter on Thursday.

"We're not reacting well when teams are making runs," saidJermaine O'Neal. "It's almost like we go into panic mode a little bit; trying to get it all back with one or two plays. That's been the difference. We just didn't' respond very well."

But the C's will have other opportunities to make amends for letting yet another game to get away from them.

"There's only one remedy for the ailment, and that's consistency," O'Neal said. "You don't have to digest, you don't have to break it down, you don't have to do anything. If we are consistent in what we do, we'll win. We can beat anybody. If we get off schedule, then we can lose to anybody. "

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!