BOSTON -- Giving up 53 rebounds in the playoffs cannot happen again, regardless of how many big men are injured.
The Boston Celtics were outrebounded by 16 in their Game 2 victory over the New York Knicks. Carmelo Anthony grabbed 17 rebounds himself. After winning the battle of the boards in Game 1, 44-34, their absence on the glass Tuesday night was glaring.
With Shaquille ONeal still out of service and Amare Stoudemire sidelined by back spasms during action, both teams were left understaffed down low.
While there is an explanation, its not an excuse.
It was a matter of us because we had to go trap. We were less one guy on the glass, Doc Rivers explained following the 96-93 win. So weve got to figure out a better way. They were flying to the glass. Listen, they knew they didnt have their guys. I mean, they were going for it. But, like I said, its not that we didnt play hard. We played hard, but weve got to play better and smarter. Hard is great. Hard and smart is much better. And we can do better, we can be better.
And again, I am happy we won the game, but I just know my team is better than that and I know we can be better and its my job to get it out of them.
Kevin Garnett (team-high 10 rebounds) noted that the Knicks offense requires the Celtics to play help defense, often leaving players out of position.
We do a lot of helping, he said. Youve got Carmelo Anthony, youve got Stoudemire, youve got Chauncey Billups, youve got guys who can really put the ball in the basket. Youve got cutters like Landry Fields and Jared Jeffries. When youre trying to help, everybodys in different spots when the ball hits the rim. Sometimes they send three or four, if not five guys, to the basket to get the rebound. Youre in different positions to rebound and it makes it kind of difficult. But this is who we are, this is what weve been doing all year, so its nothing new.
For the second time in this series, Tuesdays game came down to a last second game-winning shot. Paul Pierce (5 rebounds) believes the game, in which the Celtics outshot the Knicks 47 to 36, didnt have to be so close if they attacked the boards.
Weve just got to do a better job with our rebounding. I think thats what really kept them in the game, he said. Its all effort. Theres no scheme about rebounding. Its about putting bodies on people. Were not the most athletic team. Theyre a scrappy, small team so they were faster to the ball. So we have to do a better job of getting bodies on the ball and chasing down those long rebounds.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA