Boston Celtics

Rivers: 'This was a step backwards'

963725.jpg

Rivers: 'This was a step backwards'

HOUSTON For weeks Doc Rivers has talked about the strides taken by his club even in the face of defeat.

But Friday's 101-89 loss at Houston was different.

There was no obvious silver lining in this loss for Rivers.

"We have to figure this out," a visibly disappointed Rivers said afterward. "This is the first game in a while - we've been trending well - but this was a step backwards in the way we play, this was a step backwards for us."

Boston's defensive rotations were as slow as we've seen this season.

And while the bevy of lay-ups by Houston might seem as though the C's big men were the problem, Rivers said the issue on Friday night was dribble penetration by Houston's guards which forced the big men to at times over-rotate and thus made for a slew of easy buckets for the Rockets.

No one feasted off the C's defensive problems more than unheralded Houston forwardcenter Greg Smith who had 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots.

"They (Boston) were going to overcompensate to James (Harden), they were going to overcompensate to Jeremy (Lin)," said Rockets coach and former Celtic Kevin McHale. "So if you roll behind there's going to be some openings and Greg did a great job of presenting himself, catching and finishing around the basket."

Paul Pierce who led the Celtics with 18 points on 5-for-18 shooting, had similar thoughts on the C's regression on Friday.

"I thought we had our opportunities," said Pierce, who made note of the C's struggles in the first and third quarters sandwiching a strong showing in the second. "We're still trying to put four quarters together. That's what we need to do. You can't play (well) every other quarter and expect to win games."

Rajon Rondo was disappointed with the loss, but has a different view on Friday's loss and its impact on the positive strides Boston had made coming into the game.

"It isn't," Rondo said when asked if it was a step back. "It's one loss."

A loss that was in stark contrast to recent defeats in which the C's could in many ways see the pieces coming together for what they still believe will be a formidable club when it counts - playoff time.

Fortunately for them, it'll be clear in about 24 hours if Friday's loss was as Rondo put it, "one loss" that they move on from with a win at San Antonio, or whether Saturday night's game against the Spurs will end in defeat and put the C's right back to where they have been most of the season which is a slightly better-than-.500 ball club.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Celebrating Red Auerbach's 100th Birthday

dl-celtics_talk.png

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Celebrating Red Auerbach's 100th Birthday

In this week's special episode of "Celtics Talk," we celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of the legendary Arnold "Red" Auerbach. Mike Gorman sits down with Red in his final interview with us, plus we hear from Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and others on the man that engineered and built the most successful franchise in NBA history.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss what’s going on between the Patriots and Malcolm Butler after Bill Belichick praised Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe but didn’t have much to say on Butler.

5:39 - John Farrell thinks David Price out of the bullpen can be similar to Andrew Miller with the Indians last year in the playoffs. Our panel on BST break it down.

10:35 - Curran, Holley, Smith, and Phil Perry talk about the NFL ratings being down and why that continues to be.

15:15 - Evan Drellich joins BST after the Red Sox win to explain why Drew Pomeranz could be even more threatening, how good the bullpen actually is, and the offense not driving in runs.