WALTHAM, Mass. — After having had the past three days off, there's a sense of refreshment among the Celtics players, a chance to mentally start anew after having lost three in a row.
"You get an overload, almost like a computer," said Boston's Jared Sullinger. "It was good to hit control-alt-delete for a little bit ..."
Like most of the Celtics players, Sullinger went back to his hometown (Columbus, Ohio) and spent time with family.
Now, Sullinger is back in town with his basketball family, trying to make the team's recent struggles a thing of the past. The Celtics next play Saturday afternoon at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Just try to find ourselves again," Sullinger said, adding, "find what works."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is on a similar quest, even as he tried to manage that with spending time with family and friends.
Still, he admits the game and his team never strayed too far from his thoughts.
"You never really do [not think about basketball]," Stevens said. "But you do your best you can at it. It didn't help, going in with the sour taste of playing the way we did on Sunday."
Boston was soundly defeated 106-79 by an Indiana team that has the best record (23-5) in the Eastern Conference.
"The Pacers are a better basketball team than we are right now," Stevens said. "At the same time, we could have played better and that's frustrating."
While Stevens immediately shot down any talk of the upcoming three-day break being a factor in the team's blowout loss at Indiana, veteran forward Gerald Wallace sensed an already tough game against the Pacers was going to be even more daunting because of the upcoming break in the Celtics' schedule.
"That's typical," Wallace said. "It's rare you get a break like that during Christmas. And we're a young team. I could see some of the guys looking forward to it. You only see that the game before All-Star (weekend); guys are kind of already looking and going on their break and everything. It's kind of typical.
Wallace added, "We put ourselves in a bind. We're on a three-game losing streak. We understand what we did in Indiana. The game could have been better with effort. We got a tough stretch coming up. We have to continue to get better everyday."
And that means getting back to playing with the kind of consistency they displayed prior to the three-game losing skid.
Players believe having the last three days off will help.
"Everybody recharged their battery. You need things like that, especially in this league," said Sullinger. "It was good; it was much needed."