By A.Sherrod Blakely
INDIANAPOLIS To be a good team, it takes more than just good effort to win.
When you look at the Boston Celtics, putting forth good effort isn't the problem.
It's the multiple-effort plays that are hurting them these days.
And for a team whose core has already won a championship, the Celtics should know that those multiple-effort plays are what, on many nights, mean the difference between a dominant win or a disappointing defeat.
Boston suffered the latter on Monday following a 107-100 loss to Indiana.
It was yet another game when the Celtics were outhustled and outworked for much of the night.
"We're a first-effort team," said Paul Pierce. "We make the first effort. The second effort, the third effort . . . those are the plays that are killing us."
Effort at times can be difficult to quantify, but there are some telling indicators as to which team fared better in the hustle war.
Notably, second-chance points on Monday were decisively lopsided -- as in, 16-5 -- in favor of the Pacers.
"That's just who you are; what type of team you are," said Kevin Garnett, who like most of the Celtics, is admittedly frustrated at the team's play defensively of late. "The first, second effort has been there. But the third and the fourth, getting on the ground, and getting on the floor, we have to become . . . we're a grit team. That's what we do for 48 minutes. These last couple of weeks, we haven't been doing that."
Even with the lack of multiple efforts being a team-wide issue, Garnett remains convinced the C's will get on track before it's too late.
"We're just dealing with our issues," Garnett said. "You can either quit and go home, pack it up and give up. Or you can do something about it. We've always been that type of team to do something about it and continue to work."
Garnett added, "It's frustrating, for lack of a better word. It's frustrating. But, we put ourselves here. Just like we put ourselves here, we'll take ourselves out of it."