Celtics hope to keep rolling on short rest


Celtics hope to keep rolling on short rest

PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics had an extra day off between Games 4 and 5, and they certainly played with a little more bounce down the stretch in an impressive 101-85 Game 5 victory over Philadelphia.

More bounce. An extra day of rest. Is there a connection here?

Celtics coach Doc Rivers certainly believes so.

"No, that's no coincidence," Rivers said.

For Rivers, it was good to see the Celtics take advantage of it. Because if they close out their second-round series with Philadelphia on Wednesday, they'll be playing every other day in the Eastern Conference finals.

But if the Sixers win on Wednesday and force a decisive Game 7 in Boston, that game won't be played until Saturday.

Throughout this season, Rivers has tried to make the most of every opportunity he has had to give his veteran team some rest, which has at times come at the cost of hindering the team's rhythm.

Fortunately for the Celtics, they have had an entire season of this balancing act which in many ways, has served them well in the playoffs.

It's not unusual for teams to have a light practice in between games during the postseason. But for the Celtics, playoffs or not, practice time is often limited to whatever they can accomplish during the team's shoot-arounds prior to playing in games.

"Well with the lockout and all, it's definitely a lot more on-the-fly learning; not just for us, but all teams," Celtics' Keyon Dooling told CSNNE.com. "But we have a team with a lot of guys with high basketball I.Q.'s, so it hasn't really been a big deal or an issue for us."

Following Monday's win, there was no thought on Rivers' part to having practice today.

"We couldn't if we wanted to," said Rivers, whose team is riddled with injured players. "So it's just what we've gone through."

And while it has been an adjustment for the players, it's one that they accept with open arms.

Because for them, getting rest in between games, whether it's the regular season or the second round of the playoffs, is designed with one thing in mind.

And that's to position them to be their best when it matters most -- during games.

That mindset should serve them well heading into Game 6, a game that the C's anticipate will be as rugged a game as they've played in this series.

"We understand how difficult it is (to close out a team), nothing's easy," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "You got a very resilient Philadelphia group who just wont go away. I take my hat off to them, they are one of the better teams we even played in the last few years because of their fight; and they got great coaches and their players are mentally tough. We know theyre not gonna go away so we got to have our hard hats on for the next game, Game 6, to try to put 'em away.

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet

Minutes after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, the folks at Bleacher Report tweeted a video that celebrated the C’s one victory in the series. 


There are 17 Celtics championship banners that actually exist and hang at TD Garden. You won’t be seeing one for being a “finalist” or celebrating an actual sweep, such as Spurs over Cavs in the NBA Finals.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.


Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
How different is anyone's guess.
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."