Celtics facing uphill climb vs. Heat in East final


Celtics facing uphill climb vs. Heat in East final

MIAMI Throughout this crazy, lockout-shortened, injury-riddled season, the Boston Celtics have shown a teflon-like ability to brush off whatever setbacks came their way and keep moving.

Through all the adversity, the Celtics still managed to win the Atlantic Division and punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the Big Three era.

But what they're faced with now is a 2-0 series deficit to the Miami Heat heading into Game 3 on Friday, the kind of deficit that few teams ever recover from in time to win a series.

The Celtics are well aware that they will bucking historical trends if they are to somehow rally and win four against the Heat.

"We don't have no surrender or retreat in us," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "We're a grind-it-out team. We're going to continue to try and come back, we're gonna fight, we're going to claw, we're going to scratch. We're going to do whatever we gotta do in order to win basketball games."

Boston delivered what may have been their best shot at a win on Sunday night, with Rajon Rondo going off for a career-high 44 points in the Game 2 loss.

The C's are bothered all the time when they lose, but having played so well for so long only to come up short, is a tough pill to swallow.

"You hold on to it for 24 hours, and then you move on," Rivers said. "We have no choice in the matter. We play at home on Friday."

For Paul Pierce, Wednesday's loss was a rare game in which he cracked the 20-point plateau against a LeBron James-led team.

"There are a few little things that we have to do better," Pierce said. "We have to understand what's beating right us right now. It's demoralizing when you play hard defense for so long, and for them to get those (hustle) plays. We have to make it a one-possession game (for them), and rebound. If we continue to play with the passion, I really like our chances."

Having seen the Celtics in the playoffs so many times, the Heat understand that while they have a firm grip on this series, it's far from over.

"They'll learn from this game and come out of it with a fresh mind knowing they have two in Boston," said Miami's Dwyane Wade. "We know we are going to get this team's best shot."

Added Heat guard James Jones: "This is a (Celtics) team that has a lot of pride. Now it's 2-0 us, but we're going into Boston which will definitely be the toughest game that we play all year."

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 


“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists.