Celtics 'take a step back' in loss to Hornets

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Celtics 'take a step back' in loss to Hornets

BOSTON There was a sense of deja vu for the Boston Celtics following Wednesday's 90-78 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
A fast 21-10 start by Boston which included lots of shots going down, followed by a stretch in which no Celtics player could make a basket or get a free throw to go down.
And the C's second unit, so strong of late, could not deliver at either end of the floor.
It was as if the C's had gone back in time to say, seven or so games ago when they were a sub-.500 team and looked nothing remotely close to being a playoff team let alone one capable of making a deep playoff run.
"You start feeling good about yourselves and you take a step back," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "So I always look at me first, honestly, and I just think there's things that as a coach you've got to just keep trying to do."
In hindsight, Rivers said he probably should have played Leandro Barbosa sooner. Barbosa played less than three minutes on Wednesday but still managed to score seven points which was more than all but one Celtics reserve (Jason Terry, 12 points).
"He's an energy guy," Rivers said.
And there was no doubt the C's were lacking energy players, all game long from the starters as well as the bench.
While the Celtics bench has been able to bail out the starters in a number of games recently, they for a change were unable to build off of a strong start by the starters.
"The second unit, we take full responsibility," said Sullinger whose minutes were limited some because of -- what else? -- foul trouble. "The first unit had a rhythm going and the second unit came out and it was stagnant. We didn't move the ball like we did, we didn't defend like we did, so the second unit takes full responsibility."
While the second unit certainly didn't have one of its better games, the C's struggles were across-the-board on Wednesday with much of it having to do with the Hornets playing with more energy.
"There was a lot of inconsistency especially after the first eight minutes," said Paul Pierce. "We got out to a good lead and then we just broke down too many times. We got momentum, we'd lose it, just break downs defensively. It was just an inconsistent night on both ends of the court."
And for now, that is how this loss can be characterized ... as just one of those nights.
"You're human," Rivers said. "You have them. You start feeling good about yourselves and you take a step back."
But there's no time to reflect too long on Wednesday's loss, not with the Chicago Bulls coming to town on Friday.
"We won't let this game affect our next game," said C's guard Avery Bradley. "We just want to go on and keep building. We took some steps back tonight. But we'll into the gym tomorrow and prepare for Chicago and worry about the next game."
Said Sullinger: "We're just gonna start another streak; that's what we said when we came in here."