Rivers: Celtics played 'great' picking up for Garnett

Rivers: Celtics played 'great' picking up for Garnett
March 16, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON -- It is never a good feeling for a coach to be without his defensive leader, top rebounder, second-leading scorer, future Hall of Famer, intensity spark plug … you get the point.

On Saturday Doc Rivers faced a Kevin Garnett-less game as the big man was unable to play with a left adductor strain. The Boston Celtics were facing the Charlotte Bobcats, the team that blew them out just days earlier, and Rivers knew the visiting team was going to come out fighting.

After being tied 24 apiece at the end of the first quarter, the Celtics outscored the Bobcats by seven in the second quarter and 10 in the third to pull away with a 105-88 victory minus Garnett.

“I’m always concerned," said Rivers. "I thought we played great. I thought the defense was really good, (we) cut off a lot of dribble penetration. I thought we did just a terrific job on the boards. They crushed us there. So the three areas we were concerned with was transition, I thought we did well, dribble penetration, and rebounding. And then we shot the ball well.”

The Celtics outrebounded the Bobcats, 42-35, with a balanced effort. Shavlik Randolph led the team with eight rebounds in just 15 minutes, while Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, and Chris Wilcox all pulled down at least five boards to make up for the 7.8 averaged by Garnett this season.

The concerns Rivers was feeling about Garnett were shared by the players as well. From the coaching staff all the way down the bench, everyone in green knew they had to bring their A-game without Garnett on the floor.

"It was like, 'We've just got to step up and get the win,'" said Paul Pierce. "KG had another game where he didn't play, we played quite well, everybody stepped up. That was my reaction when I found out he wasn't playing."

Garnett is listed as day-to-day. The Celtics will play the Miami Heat on Monday.